Respite is any kind of support or activity that gives you a break from caring.

It is very important as it helps you to enjoy things as an individual, reducing the stress of the caring role.

Whatever kind of respite you are thinking about, it is important that you discuss your plans with the person you care for.

Here are some examples of what respite can mean:

  • A short break
  • Attending a course
  • Complementary therapies
  • Joining a local reading group
  • Volunteering

Social services departments are introducing personal budgets for carers, where services that have been identified through the carer’s assessment process can be bought by the carer. Personal budgets can give people greater control and flexibility in the support they receive. Contact your local social services department or carers’ centre for more information or see NHS: choosing your own support.

Some local authorities offer short breaks to carers. This could mean the person you support going to stay at a local respite centre, to give you a break from caring, or it may be possible for you to go away on holiday. The amount of time needed will be assessed to suit you and the person you care for. Contact your local carers’ centre for information.

Regular visits from a friend or befriender can allow you a break from caring. Befrienders are services usually provided by voluntary organisations and may need a referral from the care coordinator.

This covers different types of care and support to give you a break from caring. It might mean a paid care worker taking over the caring responsibilities for an agreed period of time each week, or a community support worker providing support to the cared-for person for an agreed period of time.