Planning a break

During Mental Health Awareness Week, we’d like to highlight our guidance on different ways to take a break, particularly around getting professional support to do so. We’d love to hear any more tips you have…


how can you take a planning a break when your full time carers for the one your love is your husband


Hi Jane,
Do you want to take a break with or without your caree?
I cared for my son, brain damaged at birth, for 16 years. I had the occasional night off from caring for him, or my other son, but never a child free day for 16 years apart from 3 when I was in hospital having a hysterectomy. After a series of health problems and additional carees, I’m not supposed to care for anyone ever again. Son has his own flat but I still have to do lots for him. I now go to Greece for 2 weeks every year, I come back feeling 10 years younger. I love the feeling of freedom. I now say regularly that if we love and care for someone for 50 weeks a year, they should, in return, love and care for us enough to. Give us 2 weeks off. If we get ill, where would they be without us?! Tell us a bit more about what you would like to do, and the care your caree needs.

Jane, I know exactly where you are coming from. When you are Caring for someone you love 24/7 you can’t get time to think about a break let alone planning one. I care for my husband following a stroke and at times it’s been awful. We’ve lost most of our friends/social contacts because we can’t go out - or if we do, we leave early and can’t get to many places we used to go to. Family have got to the stage of not bothering because we’re ‘no fun any more’ as we have to ‘plan’ and check access and G can be a bit clumsy or stumble. As a result, I’ve become - not quite a recluse, but not far off.

My saving grace has been first Roco and now Buster - our dogs - as I HAVE to take Buster out at least twice a day and that gives me a bit of time to myself. However, even that has to be planned. Graham doesn’t get out of bed til I am back in a morning. In an afternoon I often find he tells me has felt ‘dreadful’ while I have been out, or has gone to lie down! I am not sure how much of that is “real” and how much imagined problems which I am then told about to make me feel guilty about going out. If I am out for longer than I have said he starts to panic and assumes something has happened to me.
My sleep pattern is shot to pieces. I am sure this all resonates with you.

For 2 1/2 years I have done this and I talked about getting away for a short break. The stumbling block was I didn’t want to take HIM on holiday - I wanted a holiday for ME. So what do I do with him? About six weeks ago I was at breaking point The final straw was hearing that a friend who is a professional Carer has been seriously ill and unable to help us as we had hoped. A good friend was on the receiving end of a few comments from me and he realised how bad things had got. I had a message back from him out of the blue ‘well you have a break in May because I am coming to stay with Graham so you don’t have to worry and can bu&&er off and relax’. Had it not been for Dan, I would probably have ‘crashed and burned’ at that point.

We’d discussed G going into a Care Home for a week so I could go away, but he would have hated that

Other friends have told me ‘you need to get away and have a break’ but they don’t offer solutions, just keep repeating the mantra that I need a break - I KNOW I NEED A DAMN BREAK thank you!

So I am heading off later today, for a week in a quiet country cottage in an area I know and love. Just me and Buster.

It’s so easy to say ‘take a break’ but often the planning involved and the worry while away doesn’t seem to make it worthwhile. However, we all DO need that time to recharge the batteries; spoil ourselves a bit (no cooking for me for a whole week as it’s takeaways or quality Ready Meals); getting to do what WE want instead of always focussing on the Caree.

I felt just the same as you ‘I can’t take a break’ - it needs planning and you need to get into the right headspace (that it will be better for your husband if you are feeling better and rested - and less likely to fall ill). I know where you are right now, but talk to your GP, to any other contacts you have in Social Services or just friends and see what COULD be done to help YOU get the time away that you need.

Sorry if I’m nagging you as ‘friends’ have nagged me, but your health is important - as my GP said “my role is to keep you well so you can Care for Graham”. Lots of us are totally focusses on the one we love and sacrifice ourselves. I hope you manage to get some time for you - even if it’s just some half-days or a day or two here and there. :people_hugging:

@Jane_2109 Have to echo Chris and BB. YOU matter and yes you do deserve a break. If your husband loves you, then surely he will understand? I totally get you will have to put in a lot of preparation before hand to make sure he is safe and supported.

The only way I could get a break would be for husband to go into residential care but no way would he do this and the cost would be very high. Knowing him, he would discharge himself, if he did not get his own way. With ‘Mental Capacity’ he would be allowed to do this. I could not go away as would not want to leave the cats. No way could I leave husband at home even with regular carers.

There is NO help for people in my position - with a partner who is considered to have ‘mental capacity’. Only time I would get a break is if he goes into hospital.