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How Respite Care at Home Works and Why It’s Important

Respite care at home is a service provided at The Live in Care Company. Read below to discover more about how respite care at home works and why it’s important.


What is respite care at home?

Who is respite care for?

Types of respite care

Why is respite care important?

Help from friends and family

Paying for respite care


What is respite care at home?

Respite care is the provision of a temporary carer/carers when the usual carer is unavailable. All carers need to take a break every now and again, whether this is a planned holiday or the result of an emergency arising, whatever it might be, the carer is unable to attend work. Sometimes it might just be that the carer is unwell and is unable to provide a service that day. Depending on the circumstances, family members may feel that it is appropriate to get another carer to cover the duties of the usual carer for a day or even a few weeks. This carer is a respite carer since they are providing cover for the usual carer.


A respite carer can have a positive impact because they can help prevent the usual carer from becoming exhausted or burning out. After a period of rest, the usual carer can return to their caring duties feeling re energised and ready to get back to providing the best care they can for your loved one. Therefore, respite care can benefit the cared-for individual by maintaining the usual caring relationship through avoiding carer burn out. A respite period can also bring variation in routine and an increase in social stimulation, which are often seen as beneficial.


The prospect of leaving your loved one within the hands of a new carer can be daunting. However, this can be a preferred option to moving your loved one into temporary residential care that can be more disruptive for them. Often a respite carer is used to coming into a situation where the cared-for individual may be feeling slightly unsettled and they are trained at managing such situations and picking up from where the usual carer left off.


Who is respite care at home for?

Respite care at home is for usual caregivers who need to take a break. You may be your loved one’s primary caregiver and therefore you may need someone to take over from you whilst you go on holiday. Respite care is there for this reason so that your loved one is not left without care whilst a primary carer takes a break.


Types of respite care

There are different types of respite care services available. For instance, your loved one can receive the care within their own home, called domiciliary respite care. They can also go into temporary care in a residential home.


Domiciliary respite care

This is when the care is received within the home of your loved one. A respite carer may be employed to cover the usual carer and to match their level of input. For instance, the usual carer may be a live-in carer so a respite carer would try to also be a live-in carer in order to provide a similar level of support and care to ensure your loved one is safe.


Residential respite care

Sometimes family members and their loved one, who is receiving the care, may opt for a short-term stay in a residential home, whilst the usual carer is away. This can be a challenging and scary time for your loved one to move out of their home but it can also be helpful to see how well a residential home works for them and for you, if this is something you may consider as an option in the future.


Day care centre

Day care centres are available for activities, social support and practical assistance. They can be really enjoyable for your loved one and can open up time for you to have opportunities to do things for yourself and run errands if you need to.


Age UK run day centres for older people and many will provide hot meals, social activities and even a minibus collect and drop off service.


You can self-refer, get your GP to refer or refer on behalf of someone else. Most of the centres will not be able to accept those with complex medical needs or advanced dementia but there are some specialist centres that are specifically for people living with dementia.



Volunteers can sometimes be helpful to turn to as a way of helping your loved one when their usual carer is unavailable. Volunteers are usually able to help for a couple of hours but if your loved one requires more input then it may be difficult to find a volunteer in your area who is suitable.


Friends and Family

Friends and family can help out where necessary to support your loved one whilst their usual carer is away.


Why is respite care at home important?

Caring for an individual full time takes a great deal of energy, effort and focus as you need to be perceptive to care needs, take on physical roles, be patient and considerate, attend to other’s needs before your own and to manage any potential risks. Whilst it may be a tiring role, it is also very rewarding since the relationship a carer has with the cared for individual can grow to be that of a close friendship where there is trust, comfort and companionship. With exhaustion and burnout can come frustration and a decline in concentration. This may be damaging to not only the carer’s relationship with their client but also to the safety and efficiency of the carer. For this reason, it can be incredibly important to allow a carer to take time off from work in order to avoid burnout.


Additionally, there will be times when the carer is off sick or has been called away in an emergency. In order to ensure that your loved one is not alone and without support, a respite carer can bring you piece of mind.


Help from friends and family

Getting support from family and friends can be a really helpful means of covering for a usual carer. This is often most feasible if the usual carer is only away for a short amount of time, such as needing to run an errand or attend an event. It can be challenging to engage the support of some family members and it may feel like the division of labour between family members is lopsided.  Some strategies to help engage family members more in the care duties can include talking openly and regularly about your loved one’s needs. Encouragement and taking into consideration personal commitments and obstacles in helping with the care duties goes along way. Also, it can be helpful to recognise your own feelings around care duties that you may have that other members of the family do not. Some of your feelings may include resentment and anger. It can be helpful to reflect on this and consider how this is affecting relationships within the family. Technology can be a great way of helping to connect family members together so that everyone can be involved with decision making and exploration of ideas.


Paying for respite care services

There are three main ways to pay for professional respite care services. One is to get help from your local council, another is to get help from a charity and the third option is to pay for care yourself. Respite care at home can be as much as £1,500 per week if the respite care is emergency care, elderly live-in care or residential home care. The council will help fund your respite care if you have been assessed as needing support following a needs assessment and a carer’s assessment. If it is deemed that you qualify for respite care then the council will do a financial assessment to work out if it needs to pay towards the respite care. This depends on the assets and financial situation of the person requiring care. Charities can provide some grants to carers who need some rest. The Carers Trust and Turn2us are two charities that may offer some support to those who cannot afford respite care. If you choose to pay for the respite care yourself you may be able to raise money from pensions, property, savings or benefits that you receive.


Discover more about how elderly live in care works and get in touch with a member of our friendly team today. We’re live in care specialists who can help you find the right respite care for your elderly relative or loved one.

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