Breaks or time off from caring are important. Whether it’s an hour every day, a couple of hours a week or a two-week holiday, we all need some time to ourselves, and carers are no exception. Taking a break can recharge the batteries and give you the energy to carry on caring. Without an occasional break you are more likely to become exhausted or even unwell.
Having a break also means that the person you care for has a change of scene, a chance to talk to and meet other people. It may also make life easier in an emergency if there are regular alternative arrangements already in place.
Saga have come up with some tips about how to free up time for yourself – read them here.
If you want to have a longer break, with or without the person you care for, here are some of the options (if you are caring for an adult):
- A respite break/short stay in a residential home for the person you care for.
- A care agency/care worker to live in your home while you take a break.
- A sitting service i.e. someone coming into your home to stay with the person you care for while you go out for a short time.
- The person you care for attending a day centre or other activity on a regular basis.
- A holiday for yourself or together with the person you care for
Help with Costs:
If you are eligible Bucks County Council adult social care may be able to help with the costs of a break or extra support in the home. The person you care for will need to have an assessment and as part of a care package social services may pay all or part of, for example, sessions at a day centre or a respite break in a care home
As a carer you are entitled to a carer’s assessment which looks at your right to have a break, amongst other things. If you are eligible social services may be able to fund a sitting service so you can have a break or pursue education/learning opportunities or pay for a respite break.
Make sure you and the person you care for are claiming all the benefits and discounts to which you are entitled and which will help with the costs of respite or a sitting service. Click here to find out more.
Contact Carers Bucks to see how to get a benefits check.
You may have enough income or savings to be able to pay for a break yourself but in all likelihood you will need to organise it yourself. Carers Bucks can give you information and advice on how to go about this.
If you want to look for a residential home visit the Care Quality Commission website. They inspect care homes and details of the home’s rating and inspection reports are available on the website. Age UK has produced a checklist for choosing a care home.
Other sources of funding for a break:
Breaks for carers
The Kiloran Trust is a charity that was set up with the specific aim of providing residential supportive breaks for carers. It has a house in London where carers can stay for a few days break without the person they care for. The house has been opened in 1996 and in that time has welcomed over 2500 visitors. Their rates are subsidised and help can be provided for carers on a low income.
Breaks for carers and their families
Bristol and South Gloucestershire Carers Centre provide affordable holidays and mini breaks aimed at carers and their families. They have 2 and 3 bedroomed caravans in the Cotswolds and Torbay in Devon which have been adapted for disabled visitors.