I had to retire from work after 23 years to care for my ill husband. No breaks. I’m here 24/7. I order groceries on line for delivery. I’m his caretaker. With his dementia and disease he cannot be left alone.

I got an invite for my retirement party. Having to retire under the circumstances of an ailing husband is not something I want to be celebrating. Is it okay not to accept under the situation?

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    This isn't the question you asked, but user85599, that isn't sustainable. I don't know where you live or what local support might exist, but if this is going to last more than a few weeks, you need breaks. No wonder you aren't looking forward to a party - under circumstances like this, it's not possible to look forward to anything. Caretakers need help too. For his sake, you need to take care of yourself too. Apr 3, 2018 at 23:39

3 Answers 3


First, you are allowed to decide if you attend a party or not. If you don't want to you don't have to. We understand your feeling you don't want to celebrate a sad event. Since you are the reason for the event make sure you give plenty of notice if you really don't want to be there.

However you might consider that your colleagues don't want to celebrate something upsetting (if they understand the full story). Instead they probably want to say goodbye to you properly, and to celebrate the many years you have had together. It would likely be good for you to say goodbye to them too.

Also you are about to enter a time of your life when you might feel isolated from other people. It might be good for you to take any opportunities you have for getting together with others - even if you don't feel like it. I understand you feel you can't leave your husband for even a short while, but I hope you can find someone who is prepared to look after him for a few hours. You will likely need someone in the future. As thursdaysgeek says, your plan to never leave the house for a period that may be many years is not sustainable.

  • Very well put and the point about starting a phase of life away from people you have seen nearly daily for 23 years -- can't be overstated. Apr 5, 2018 at 7:24
  • I understand you feel you can't leave your husband for even a short while That is exactly what the OP has to break through (see also thursdaygeek's comment under the question).
    – user8036
    Apr 6, 2018 at 13:58

Of course it is. This isn't something that should be over thought! Your reasons are legitimate humble and of sound reasoning!

And office parties.. once you've been to one..


If you feel like its not appropriate to attend one, given you're the person of honor, it would be best to briefly explain to them that due to the circumstances related to you leaving your job, you consider best to not have a party at all.

That being said I do agree with DJClayworth's answer that you probably should re-consider this decision and humbly attend it, after all there's no need to make it make it flamboyant with too much fanfare or flair, just to give the opportunity to the people that were your long time work partners to honor you with a goodbye while you embark in this new harsher reality.


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