Carers' breaks and respite care
It lets you take time out to look after yourself and helps stop you becoming exhausted and run down.
There are lots of respite care options. They range from getting a volunteer to sit with the person you look after for a few hours, to a short stay in a care home so you can go on holiday.
The person you look after could go to a day care centre. Or, a paid carer could visit them at their home to look after them.
How to get an assessment
We will only fund respite care for people that we have assessed as needing it.
Find out how to get a carer's assessment.
Different types of respite care
The main types of respite care are:
- day opportunities
- homecare from a paid carer
- a short stay in a care home
- getting friends and family to help
- respite holidays
Day care centres offer a chance for people who find it difficult to get out and about to socialise, make friends and take part in activities.
For example, day care centres might offer tea dances, singing, games and arts and crafts. Some offer hairdressing, foot care and assisted bathing.
Transport is often provided, but there may be a charge.
To qualify for council-funded day care centre visits, the person you look after will need to have had a needs assessment.
Help at home from a paid carer
If you care for someone and need more time for yourself, you can arrange for a paid carer to help at their home. This is also called homecare.
It might be regular (for example, one day a week so that you can work, study or have a day off) or for a short period, such as a week, so you can take a holiday.
If the person you care for needs 24-hour supervision, you can arrange live-in care.
To qualify for council-funded homecare, the person you look after will need to have had a needs assessment.
A short stay in a care home
It can be difficult to get respite space at short notice, but some care homes take advance bookings which can help you to plan ahead, for example if you want to book a holiday.
Getting friends and family to help
Friends and family might temporarily move into the house of the person you care for. Or, they could invite the person you care for to stay with them for a while.
Respite holidays allow carers and people with illnesses or disabilities, to take a break from everyday life.
Emergency respite care
Think about who you could contact in an emergency if you couldn't reach the person needing care, for example, due to an accident or sudden illness.
This might be another relative, friend or neighbour who could step in for a few hours while proper arrangements are made.
Make sure they:
- have door keys or know the code to a key safe
- know the type of care the person you look after will need - this may be as simple as sitting and chatting with them, making a meal for them or helping them take their medicines
Write some notes about what kind of care the person you look after needs and leave them in a prominent place to help anyone who steps in to help at a moment's notice.
These notes could include essential information on medicines, and any dos and don'ts for the substitute carer to be aware of.
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This page was last updated on 1 December 2022.