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Being a carer can be hard work and you might need to take a break sometimes.

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

  • short term residential care – where the person you care for goes to stay in a care home or other residential setting for a short time,
  • getting more paid help at home – this could be via paid workers helping with care or getting more help with tasks around the home,
  • getting someone to keep the person you care for company whilst you go out - sitting and befriending services,
  • doing something you enjoy,
  • you, or the person you care for, taking part in activities outside the home, or
  • taking a holiday with or without the person you care for.

Make sure you ask for a carer’s assessment as it looks at the support you need to carry on caring – this could include regular respite and breaks.  

Is the strain of caring taking its toll on how you get on with family and friends?

If you struggle to take a break from caring this can have an impact on your relationship with your partner, and with other family and friends.

Top tip: Have a good social support network and make sure that friends and family know how much caring you do.  They may be able to offer you help. People don’t always know what to do to help so - if you can - be specific about what they can do to support you, whether that’s ringing you regularly to give you a chance to chat, meeting up for coffee once a week, sending you a photo or Facebook message or doing practical tasks like gardening or cooking to help ease the pressure. The happier you are with your social support network, the more satisfied you are likely to be with your relationship.

For more top tips to help you look after your relationships visit our new relationship guide for carers.