Date Revised:

If you're a carer, you might need to take a break sometimes.

What is respite?

Respite is a short break, anything from a couple of hours to several weeks, away from caring to give you time to recharge your batteries. You may find that it helps you stay stay well and feel better able to cope with caring. 

Different types of short breaks for carers

Respite can mean different things to different carers, it could mean:

  • Support workers (care workers) or personal assistants helping look after the person you care for, in their home. This is sometimes called replacement care.
  • Getting help with other tasks around the home, such as cleaning. See getting paid help at home.
  • The person you care for having a short stay in a care home (or nursing home). 
  • Getting someone to keep the person you care for company while you go out. See sitting and befriending services.
  • You, or the person you care for, taking part in activities outside the home. 
  • Taking a holiday with or without the person you care for.

How to arrange respite care

  1. Ask your local council for a carer’s assessment (Adult Carer Support Plan in Scotland) as it looks at the support you need – this could include regular respite and carer breaks.  Get in touch with your local council if you haven't had an assessment yet.
  2. Find out about paying for respite.
  3. Get in touch with your local carer service as they will be able to help you find out more about taking a break.
  4. Try talking to your family and friends and see if they can help by giving you a break.
  5. If you want to buy care at home, from a support worker or a personal assistant, see our buying care guide.

Next update due: February 2020