Taking a break

I care for my husband aged 74, I am 71. Bruce has walking difficulties due to non existent cartilage in both knees and incontinence. He suffered and survived cancer of the rectum in 2001 and had part of his bowell removed. He suffered a heart attack towards the end of his treatment so had to stop the chemotherapy. He also suffers from diabetes which is controlled by medication. He uses a walking stick& walker in the house & mobility scooter to get about. He enjoys his trips down town, even doing small amounts of shopping. Lack of excercise & medication has piled the pounds on, he eats sensibly but is now 24 stone! He uses incontinence pants, but still has the occasional ‘accident’. After several years of coping on my own, I felt I needed a complete break away. My son persuaded me to visit him in Australia for 2 weeks, which Bruce happily supported. Departure February 6th 2020. All booked and paid for, but I am now wondering if I am making a terrible mistake.
How will he cope on his own? Who will do his laundry? I have a very efficient washer/dryer but need advise on who to contact to help with this.

No, not a mistake, you desperately need some time to relax.

I suspect it will also make him realise just how dependent he is on you, which is vital as you are both getting older.

I would suggest that you contact a care agency, explain the situation, and ask for someone to call for an hour a day, to keep the domestic chores at bay, and to keep that going for a few days after you get home, and maybe once or twice a week from then on?

Does he have a Lifeline pendant so he can call someone in an emergency? Social Services should be able to arrange this before you go.

Do you have over £46,000 between you, in savings? If so, Social Services won’t offer any help towards his care. Below that figure, they would contribute something.

Presumably he’s on Attendance Allowance or DLA?

Is absolutely vital you go, you need a break. I second the idea of getting some care in whilst you are away. Then you can absolutely relax on your holiday without stressing about him.

Thank you so much for your positive replies. I do feel better about the situation now. To answer your question on savings, no we have nowhere near that amount of money. I do get a carers allowance which is approximately £200 per month, but neither of us have any other benefits. I am looking into home help, unfortunately my husband is very private and stubbornly refuses to contemplate having some one in to help, so far I have not been able to convince him otherwise. I’m still trying :wink:
Kind Regards

YOU need a break, the carer is going to be there to avoid YOU coming home to a messy house.

It sounds as though your husband may be entitled attendance allowance in addition to your carers allowance? Worth a look as might pay for a bit more help?

I understand the point about your husband being stubborn and refusing help. Both my parents were the same. But there comes a point often when this isn’t a choice anymore. Now might be the time to force the issue with him. If a carer everyday is too much, then how about getting a cleaner to pop in a couple of times a week whilst you are gone? Just to pop a wash on and run the hoover round? Maybe even just book it and tell him it is happening?

Thank you Sally. Your advice means a lot. You are right I do need to force the issue. Wish me luck with that B)

You would be surprised how people cope when they have too.

The pendant is a good idea that should be in place quite quickly. This holiday has opened up how much you are already doing. You need extra help going forward and when you return.

Age UK run a be-friendly service speak to you local one.

Hello and welcome!

No all carers need to have some me time and a break from time to time. I have recently booked a solo vacation to the Caribbean Island in November 2020 with some old high school friends for two weeks. When was the last time you had a proper break? What are your interests and hobbies? Are there any activity clubs in your area you can sign up for or not? Start trying to find some. Ask around for suggestions and recommendations or use the web or Facebook too.

What about knitting? Can you request a needs assessment on behalf of your cared for person? Even if it is two hours spent reading a paper at a local coffee shop or some time talking to old friends, it all counts. I love me time and grab any chances to have a break whenever possible as well. I hired a part time sitter for weekends to enable me to spend some time alone with my partner or friends in town.