Respite for carers what help is available for you

Respite for carers: what help is available for you?

5 min read

If you’re feeling overwhelmed looking after an elderly loved one, it’s worth knowing what respite for carers is available.

Respite for carers is an essential service to help you continue supporting your loved one physically and emotionally.

Whether it's just a few hours a week or for an extended period - there are options to suit you both.

This article will cover everything you need to know about respite for carers and how to get it.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • Using a respite service gives carers time away from their care duties to reset physically and emotionally.
  • They can take a relaxing holiday or use the time to get things done in their lives outside of being a carer. 
  • Respite for carers should be taken when possible to avoid compassion fatigue and caregiver burnout. 
  • Though it can seem expensive, there are plenty of options to support carers financially to get the help they need.
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What is respite for carers? 

Services that provide respite for carers are more commonly known by the name ‘respite care’. 

This refers to the care provided by a temporary carer who steps in while you, the regular carer, have some time off. 

Respite for carers is essential for wellbeing and morale, as being a primary caregiver comes with its challenges. 

And having that respite time allows you to focus on yourself and gives you the opportunity to recharge. 


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Respite for full-time carers

Full-time carers are people who cannot work elsewhere due to their caregiving duties to a family member. 

This can put a strain on relationships and finances, especially for people who have had to give up work to become a caregiver. 

Full-time family carers can become overwhelmed by their role and may not be able to factor in time for themselves. 

This can be a sign that respite for carers is necessary, in order to maintain that level of committed support.

full time carers need respite

Signs that you may need a break

Whether caring full or part-time for a loved one with care needs, it can be hard to know when to take a break. 

But listening to your body can help you sense when you need to get away for a moment.

If you are feeling tired or burnt out, you and the person you care for could benefit from respite care. 

Plus, taking respite for carers could help you overcome compassion fatigue and help you stay motivated as a caregiver.

How to get respite for carers

If you want to organise respite care for someone you look after, it’s always a good idea to discuss the options with them. 

Even if they don’t understand or remember the conversation, keeping them informed is inline with a person-centred care approach.   

This is to ensure that they are involved in their care and have some say in when and where they receive it. 

Get assessed

Organise a carers assessment for yourself and a care needs assessment for the person you care for. 

The results of this will help you determine whether the cost of any respite for carers is covered by local authority funding. 

Even if you aren’t eligible for funding, the carers assessment is still useful for carers and their loved ones. 

As it can help signpost you to the most appropriate form of respite for carers that you can access in your local area.

carer's assessment

What does respite for carers look like?

If you’re a carer, the type of respite you need may be different from someone else. 

For this reason there are lots of options when it comes to respite for carers, that suit individual needs and circumstances. 

Some people benefit from regular respite breaks, for example a few hours every week or a day a month. 

While others may take a dedicated break from their care duties, as general time off or even a special holiday. 

Types of respite care

Types of respite care

Respite care can be any service that allows the regular carer to have a bit of a break from care duties. 

These services provide respite for carers as well as ensuring that the person needing care is being looked after. 

You can find out more about these respite services in our guide to what is respite care?

What is a respite holiday?

Respite holidays are a great way to take a break from the everyday routine, and can be done together or alone. 

Check out the services run by Mind For You that support people with dementia on respite holidays. 

Or Revitalise, who offer subsidised respite holidays for people with disabilities and their carers. 

What is a sitting service?

A sitting or befriending service is a great option for people with fewer care needs. 

A trained volunteer will sit with your loved one to keep them company while you rest or get errands done.

Using this service can reduce social isolation in older people too, as they can chat with new people. 

Organise a sitter through charities including Age UK and Carer’s Trust.

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Respite for carers: What you pay

The cost of respite care depends on the care needs of your loved one – what they are and how much care is needed. 

As care needs differ, so does the cost, but as with regular services, complex care comes at a higher price. 

This can deter carers from taking respite for themselves, but support is available if you’re worried about costs.

Respite for full-time carers

Can you get funding for respite care?

You may be eligible for funding when looking for respite for carers – this comes through your local authority.

They will look at your finances after the carer’s assessment to work out what you can afford to pay. 

If you are eligible for funding, you can manage your money and care by yourself or get local authority support. 

But if you’re not eligible, some charities offer help to pay for the costs associated with finding respite for carers.

Are carers entitled to respite care?

There are so many benefits of respite for carers, that it should be a standard part of the role. 

But care is often complicated due to the expense and the complex level of care that some people require. 

Therefore, it’s impossible to give automatic respite to all carers – though it is something that you should consider doing personally. 

So organise a carers assessment to find out what support is available and how to pay for it. 

care at home

Can carers receive benefits?

One of the benefits for carers is the carer’s allowance which gives you a weekly budget of £76.75. 

This is available to people providing 35+ hours a week to someone who also receives financial benefits for elderly

Find out more about this benefit in our guide to can I claim carers allowance for myself?

Does taking respite for carers affect their benefits?

Taking a short break from caring shouldn’t affect your benefits. 

You can receive a carer’s allowance for up to four weeks in any six-month period that you take off as respite.

Though it’s advisable to find out about your specific personal circumstances, to see if you’ll be affected by taking respite. 

Respite care made simple

Respite care made simple

Taking time away from your loved one can be hard, especially when all care responsibilities fall to you. 

But instead of worrying about finding care, enter their details into Sweet Pea to get matched with local respite care services 

From home care visits to companion services, Sweet Pea connects you with the right support when you need it most. 

Just click below.