Relatives & Residents Association

We support, inform and speak on behalf of older people in care


Husband pushes to be ‘essential caregiver’ for wife in care

Tony has been working tirelessly to maintain the relationship with his wife of 64 years, Rita, who lives in care. Through the various different visiting restrictions during the pandemic he has donned full PPE to meet Rita in a designated “visiting room” – holding hands through gloves –  and even kneeled on the ground to speak to her through a crack in the window. More recently they were able to have trips out together, but when Tony drove Rita back to the care home he was not allowed in to help her get settled. Saying goodbye in the car park was very distressing for Rita due to her dementia. She simply couldn’t understand why her husband wasn’t coming inside with her and would get upset, blaming him. For Tony, this was heart-breaking.


Tony asked about being designated as Rita’s ‘Essential Caregiver’, in line with Government guidance, but was told this wasn’t possible. After several attempts with the same response, Tony sent the care home manager some FAQs about the role produced by the Relatives & Residents Association. The manager replied to say Tony could become Rita’s Essential Caregiver. With the same safety measures as staff, Tony can go into the home with Rita and spend some quality time together.


Tony said:

“I’m so happy. R&RA has come up trumps for me again, thanks to you we’re getting there.”


R&RA’s suite of resources on the essential caregiver role are available here.

We are campaigning to End Isolation In Care. Find out more here.

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this story, or would like advice or support on visiting your relative or friend in care, please contact our helpline.

Back to the latest news


020 7359 8136

Open 9.30am-1pm Mon-Fri

We take the time to listen

Our Helpline advisers are real experts in the care field and happy to cope with referrals from other advice or befriending lines when more in-depth knowledge is needed.

Read More

View Case Studies

R&RA twitter feed

Subscribe to our e-Bulletin

* indicates required