What to do for the best


Registered User
Jul 1, 2005
My husband is on a two week respite/assessment for full time care, having been there 5 days. Apart from the guilt trip I am on beating myself up as to whether this is the right thing to do, I am wondering what people advise about contacting/ visiting him. I gave him a mobile phone to use in and it's easier for me to contact him on it as the care home phone is used by the residents and as you can imagine frequently is lost or engaged as they have left it off the hook. But he keeps ringing me at bizarre times to tell me about 'people' in his room as he suffers from hallucinations. I tell him to talk to the staff. I don't know if the phone was a good idea as I don't want him relying on me when he should be talking to the staff. I also don't know what to do about visiting. I went once as he went in on short notice so had to take his clothes. Should I restrict contact/visits to try and get him to settle or let him know I'm still around.
It's so hard to know what to do for the best but if he keeps contacting I'm not getting a break and I think it may be unsettling him.
Advise please.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear suem,

Didn`t the assessment centre give you any guidelines? I would phone them and ask them what they usually advise.

Is the mobile phone on contract or pay as you go? If it`s pay as you go, I would let the credit run out.

Don`t beat yourself up. It`s only two weeks. You haven`t committed yourself or your husband yet.

Make the most of these two weeks to get a bit of a break yourself. As one who is now really losing sympathy, and running out of patience, with a husband whose demands are increasing, I wouldn`t waste them.

Let us know how it goes. Love Sylvia x


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Dear Suem

I agree with Sylvia. Your husband is in respite to give you a break, and you're not getting it. You obviously need to recharge your batteries, or you wouldn't have got respite.

I would suggest not visiting for a few days. Perhaps you could tell him you're going away, and he won't be able to contact you by phone.

Sounds cruel, but I think you have to break that total dependency on you, or you'll never get a break.

Tough love, or self-preservation?



Registered User
Feb 22, 2006
sort of north east ish
Hi Suem

I really don't believe there's a "RIGHT" answer to things like this. It surely depends on him and you and what feels right to you. I can't believe there's any "One size fits all" answer to it.

My dad went into emergency respite about a year ago. No one gave ANY advice about visiting - and it never occured to me to not go - anymore than it would have if he'd been taken into hospital. Certainly on the day we arrived, the staff gave the clear impression that it would be absolutely fine to either a) dump him on the doorstep or b) stay with him, settle him into his room and have supper with him or c) any level of involvement in between. Maybe in a sense that WAS the best advice ... do what feels right for me and dad.

It's hard though ...... whatever you do ....... no doubt about that


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
When my mother went in for 12 days I visited her twice. My brother and aunt told me not to, but I never accepted that they had any right to tell me what to do. I couldn't just leave her with strangers for 12 days, and she couldn't manage a mobile phone. The first time she was being good and the second time she was being bad (but then wherever she was and whoever was with her there were bound to be good days and bad days).

I don't think anyone can make rules about it, you just have to follow your own feelings.


Registered User
Aug 11, 2005
South-East London, UK
I agree that there is no right or wrong way to handle this situation. Everyone has to decide in the light of their situation and their knowledge of their relative and their relationship, etc.

My husband is due to go into respite for the first time next Friday. Last week we went for the pre-admission assessment and, at one point, the person carrying out the assessment started to tell me about visiting hours. I said I didn't want to know, thank you. He will only be in for five days in this instance and it will be no break for me if I visit him during that time. I hope I don't sound heartless but I really do need respite! And that means not having to think about or worry about my husband for a few days.

Rightly or wrongly, I am setting great store by the prospect of ten weeks of rolling respite over the next year. It would not be too strong to say that my sanity and my husband's future welfare are at stake here and I do not want to create a precedent that means I will feel I have to visit him whenever he is away.

It's been said many times before - you can only do what you judge to be best for you and your relative at any given time.


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