Caring for someone can be physically and emotionally tiring
See how you can have a break from caring
On this page you can find:
- Why taking a break is important
- How to take care of yourself
- Organisations that can help you
- How a break might affect your benefits
Why getting a break from caring
How caring can affect you
Caring can make you physically exhausted, for example because:
- You get up several times over the night
- You lift and support an adult heavier than you
- You look after your family and have a job at the same time
It can distress you psychologically too. Seeing someone you care experiencing pain or discomfort can affect you as well. Don’t underestimate what you are doing, because caring can lead to:
- Other mental health issues.
- Destabilise relationships
Take a break periodically
If you’re a full-time carer or spend a lot of time caring for someone, it's important to make time for yourself, too – both for the sake of your own health and wellbeing and to give you the energy to carry on caring.
Having a break doesn’t mean you are letting down the person you care for. It's sensible to have time to rest, catch up with friends and pursue your own interests.
All carers need the time and space to pursue opportunities and to attend activities and events: they also need practical and mental support.
Respite care is the term used for replacement services which enable you to take a break from caring.
This can include a range of things, such as employing someone to sit with the person you care for, cook for them, take them to a day centre, or arranging temporary residential care.
Getting alternative care so you can take a break
There are different options for getting support for the person you are looking after you go away, including:
Finding care yourself
You may wish to make your own private arrangements such as:
- Employing a paid care worker to care for the person you are looking after in their own home
- Paying for short-term residential care
- Arranging a holiday for the person you are looking after
- There are a range of organisations which provide information and/or services which will help you to make private arrangements. A list of these can be found in this website - use the search to filter the results to fit your needs.
Friends and family
Some carers may be able to ask friends or family members to take over caring for the person they are looking after in order to go on a short break or holiday. Sometimes this may be that friends or family visit the person being looked after to provide care while the carer is away. Alternatively, it may mean that the person being looked after goes to stay with friends or family for an extended period.
There are many useful organisations that can help you get a break. They may provide break services for carers or provide information to help you to decide what alternative care services to use.
There are a range of local organisations, who can help you to take some time out and who offer information, advice and support. These include:
Bromley Well provide support to people in Bromley who provide care for others, who are unable to cope on their own due to disability, long-term illness (mental or physical) or frailty,
To find out more, visit www.bromleywell.org.uk.
Bromley Mencap provides a range of respite services for carers.
- The award winning Mutual Carers Support network, which supports older carers who are still caring at home for a son or daughter with a learning disability;
- A day respite service for people with complex needs, a sitting service and a childminding network for children with disabilities aged from birth to 16, allowing parents a regular break after school or at weekends, and giving the child the opportunity to visit another home and play with friends.
Bromley Mencap also runs a second childminding network, Network Plus, for children with a severe learning disability and a complex medical need or complex communication difficulty.
Carers Bromley provides support to people in Bromley who provide care for others, who, due to disability, long-term illness (mental or physical) or frailty, are unable to cope on their own. They also offer services to provide respite care. Carers Breaks is a flexible, home-based, respite care service provided by Carers Bromley to enable carers to have a break while the person they support is being cared for at home. The Sitters Service provides short-term care at home. Carers Bromley has a list of sitters who will sit with someone while their usual carer has a break.
View their details in our website to find out more.
MindCare Dementia Support
Provided by Bromley and Lewisham Mind, MindCare Dementia Support offers a range of respite services to give family dementia carers a break from caring responsibilities.
Services can be provided in centres in Beckenham or Orpington or in the home of people with dementia.
MindCare also offer places to those who do not meet eligibility criteria for council funded services.
Bromley Council's Adult Social Services
Bromley Council's Adult Social Services can help arrange services to help support you. In order to get these services you and the person you are looking after will need to have an assessment of your needs carried out.
Paying for respite
Whilst some respite services are free for you to access, some will have a charge. You might be able to get financial support from the council to help you take a break following an assessment of your needs, but respite services are means-tested so you or the person you care for may have to contribute towards the cost. You can click here to find out more on our Paying for Care page
Alternatively, there are some benevolent funds and charities that may be able to help you with the costs.
Find out more clicking here to go to the NHS Choices website [external website].
How a break might affect your benefits
Payment of benefits can sometimes be affected if you take a break or you or the person you are looking after goes into hospital or residential care.
Find out below what this might mean for you.
Your Carer’s Allowance when you have a break
If you have time off from caring, there are special rules to decide whether you’ll continue to receive Carer’s Allowance.
The basic rule is that you can continue to receive your Carer’s Allowance for up to four weeks in any six-month period if you have a break from caring.
However, the rules are complicated, so you should get specialist advice from the Carer’s Allowance Unit by calling 0845 608 4321.
Further details can be found on the Government's website [external website]
If you’re receiving any other benefits which include extra amounts for caring, these may be affected if you have a break from caring.
Going into hospital
You can continue to get Carer's Allowance for up to 12 weeks in any 26 weeks period if you or the person you are looking after has to go into hospital. 12 weeks is the maximum, so if you have had breaks in caring for other reasons Carer's Allowance may stop sooner.
You must have been providing 35 hours or more of care a week for at least 22 of the past 26 weeks. Up to 8 weeks of a stay in hospital (for either you or the person you are looking after) can be included in the 22 weeks.
The person you have been looking after must have been in receipt of the middle or higher rate of the component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), either rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or Attendance Allowance (AA) or Constant Attendance Allowance for that period.
In practice, if you are looking after an adult, you will only be able to get Carer's Allowance for up to 28 days if it is the person you are looking after who is in hospital. This is because to get Carer's Allowance the person you are looking after must continue to receive DLA, PIP, AA or Constant Attendance Allowance, and this will stop after 28 days in hospital. If you are looking after a child under 16 their DLA will stop after 12 weeks in hospital.
Stays in hospital that are separated by 28 days or less are added together when deciding whether DLA/PIP/AA should stop.
Going into residential care
The DLA care component, the PIP daily living component and AA will stop after 28 days in residential care if Bromley Council have arranged the placement and are helping with the cost. Stays in residential care that are separated by 28 days or less are added together when deciding whether DLA/PIP/AA should stop.
Your Carer's Allowance will stop once the DLA, PIP or AA of the person you are looking after stops. However, if you have also had breaks from caring for other reasons your Carer's Allowance may stop sooner.
Other benefits can also be affected by breaks in care or stays in hospital or residential care.
Click here to seek advice about this from the Carers UK Adviceline [external website].