What is respite care?

Respite care, sometimes referred to a Short Break is the term used for services designed to give you a break from caring. It can come in many forms.

Someone might come in to look after the person you care for on a regular basis, or take them out to an activity group or day centre.

It might mean you can go on holiday, with or without the person you care for. If you're going away without the person you care for, they may have a temporary stay in a residential care.


How do I arrange respite care?

Your carer's assessment may identify that you need a break from caring from time to time. In some areas respite care can be accessed through a carers personal budget, while in others it’s provided through a needs assessment for the person you look after. If your assessment or the assessment for the person you care for shows you need respite care, the local council should support you to access it.

Read more about carers assessments >>        Read more about needs assessments >>


How do I pay for respite care?

You might be able to get financial support from the council to help you take a break. However respite services are means-tested so depending on which local authority area you live in, you or the person you care for may have to contribute towards the cost.

Following a carers assessment, if your needs meet the national eligibility criteria you may be allocated a personal budget. This money can be used to buy services and equipment which will help you in your caring role and in some areas can be used to pay for additional respite care.

If you don’t qualify for help from your local council you may have to pay for care yourself. This can be called self funding. The person you care for may also have to a pay for their own care.

Paying for care can be an expensive and long-term commitment, so it is wise to seek specialist information and advice on paying for care before entering into any arrangements.

It is important that you seek specialist advice from appropriately qualified and regulated financial advisers.

A list of independent financial advisers can be found on the Society of Later Life Advisers website. You can also call SOLLA on 0333 202 0454.


How do I find respite care?

You can call our Carers Hub and talk to us about how you find respite. You can also visit the Directory page on each area of our website for a link to the Services Directory which you can use to find information provided by Care Choices about care homes near you and home care in your area or visit their website >>

Will a break affect my benefits?

If you have time off from caring, there are special rules to decide whether you'll continue to receive Carers Allowance. The basic rule is that you can continue to receive your Carer's Allowance for up to four weeks in any six-month period if you have a break from caring. However, the rules are complicated, so you should get specialist advice.

If you're receiving any other benefits which include extra amounts for caring, these may be affected if you have a break from caring.