Carers' guide to respite
We all need to take a break from caring from time to time. A quiet hour, a regular weekly slot, a day off, an undisturbed night's sleep, a weekend away or a whole week, or even two on holiday. A break from caring is known as 'respite'.
This guide's purpose is to help us overcome any barriers we may have with taking a break. A place to share the solutions that we (as a community of carers), have found that work and some useful organisations that can help. Plus, some new solutions we can try.
We will often have different barriers to taking a break so we most likely will be looking for different solutions.
We've broken our guide into easy-to-digest chunks:
We've labeled it "the incomplete guide" as we intend to continue growing it, with your help!
If you would like to make a suggestion for an addition to this guide, we'd love to update our guide with it.
Simple solutions for respite breaks, that might just work
We all have very different circumstances and caring situations but here are some creative solutions from the Mobilise Community:
Can our friends and family help us take care of our loved ones for a couple of hours (or even a night?) We will never know unless we ask.
It may take planning and possibly some compromise but perhaps it will be worth it once we take a break. It might take a combination of people. Think flexibly about what would work.
Consider a caring trade with someone - like an old-fashioned babysitting circle.
2. Do we have some savings or disposable income?
For those that have savings or some disposable income, paying for respite care for the person you care for either through an agency or someone you already employ might be an option.
What funding is there for respite services, breaks, and holidays
Ask your local council for a 'Carer's Assessment' (or 'Adult Carer Support Plan' if you live in Scotland). An outcome of this will be to agree on a carer support plan which may include respite to give you a break from caring or funding for activities that help you take a break.
Your local carers centre may have details of funding or might even run a scheme themselves. If they are a part of the Carers Trust Network you may also be able to apply for a "Carers Trust Grant".
4. Benevolent funds
Benevolent funds are linked to where you or your family have worked in the past. For example Grocery Aid.
The Family Fund provides grants for disabled children, some carers have been successful in applying for funding for holidays or short breaks.
As well as information and support on accessing benefits, Turn2Us can also help with charitable grants.
Disability Grants help us find the right grant for our situation.
Revitalise Support Fund is helping more unpaid family carers access respite breaks.
The Respite Association - Funding of appropriately qualified respite care for disabled, sick, elderly or terminally ill persons so that the unpaid carer can take a much-needed break.
Take a break Scotland - Scotland's short break fund for carers of disabled children, young people and their families
11. Shared Care Scotland
Contact your local Carers' Centre to find out what is available locally.
What respite holidays are free for carers?
Here are a few free holiday respite options suggested by carers.
Carefree - Transforms vacant accommodation into vital breaks for unpaid carers
After Umbrage - Short term respite holiday accommodation free of charge to those caring for loved ones with life-limiting and terminal conditions. Also welcoming carers in their first 12 months of bereavement.
The Respite Association - A limited number of carer holidays with a holiday cottage and carers' retreat.
Your local carers centre may also have details of holidays and breaks in your area.
What respite holidays are free for those we care for?
We know these exist but we also know they have limited availability so we often keep quiet when we find them. Top tip - take a look at condition-specific support charities and local organisations.
What respite holidays and breaks are suitable for those we care for to go without us?
Revitalise - A Revitalise respite holiday is a refreshing twist on traditional respite care. They offer a break that feels like a proper holiday for disabled people (and also for carers, if we wish). (Prices are subsidised by fundraising).
Abbots Care - Provides two different types of respite care at home (live-in care, and visiting care). Simply use their Care Service Enquiry and they can also discuss the funding that may be available.
What respite holidays and breaks can carers have together with the person we care for?
Revitalise - Again, Revitalise can also help with this. Offering respite holidays for both the carer and/or the person we care for. (Prices are subsidised by fundraising).
Dementia Adventure - Similarly to respite, Dementia Adventure enables both us carers and the person we care for to enjoy a holiday, short-break or local outing together, supported by their trained team.
How can carers overcome personal barriers to respite?
Sometimes the barriers can be more personal or unique to us.
Taking a break requires planning and organisation perhaps we feel we just don't have the time or energy for that. We don't all want to have time away from the person we care for. Or we might feel we would be too stressed, anxious or guilty to have time to ourselves so there's just no point.
If we really are in a tight spot and can't find a way to change things starting with just five minutes of caring for ourselves might be our first step.
Respite holiday options for both us and the person we care for
If we're planning a holiday with the person you care for in the near future, take a look at the list of organisations can make travel that bit easier for you:
Which organisations provide accessible respite holiday options in the UK?
Tourism For All can help us with finding and planning accessible destinations and accommodations across the UK. These include accessible bedrooms, lifts and wheelchairs as well as facilities for hearing impaired visitors.
Just like Tourism For All - but UK edition! From disabled friendly holidays to tours in the UK, this may be a good option for us if we are not planning to go abroad.
3. Accessible, Adapted and Disabled Holiday Places
Carers in the Mobilise community have recommended the Accessible, Adapted and Disabled Holidays Facebook page to finding holiday options for us and the person we care for.
Check out our 'Carers' guide to booking a holiday', a more comprehensive guide which lists more disabled-friendly holidays (both in the UK and international) including what support airports and airlines can help us with.
Find respite in your area
A good starting point to look for respite around us is to see what our local council is offering. Sometimes, we'll need to have a Carer's Assessment to get funding for our respite.
We've pulled together a list of areas below.
If you can't find yours, simply pop your postcode into this nifty tool to be taken to your council's site.
If we have time off from our caring roles how will our Carer's Allowance be affected?
There are special rules for this, if we take a break from caring for up to four weeks we can continue to receive Carer's Allowance (that's four weeks in any six month period). Do check the Government Website for further details.