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Taking a break

Carers contribute $60.3 billion per year providing unpaid care and support to family members and friends. It can be a valuable and rewarding experience. It can also be stressful, leaving you feeling emotionally or physically tired.

Respite care (also known as ‘short­ term care’) is a form of support for you and your carer. It gives your carer the opportunity to attend to everyday activities or go on holidays while ensuring your needs are supported. Respite care may be given informally by family, friends or neighbours, or by formal respite services. Things like respite care may mean your carer can continue in caring for you longer.

Respite care may be for a few hours or days or for longer periods,depending on your needs, the needs of the person who cares for you, your eligibility and what services are available in your area. It can happen in your home or at facilities such as an overnight respite cottage, a day centre or residential care facility.

The Carer Gateway has information on a number of respite care services that may be available to access.

Generally respite is planned in advance. This can help avoid stress build-up, and long waiting lists that services may have. But what do you do when the unexpected happens?

Emergency respite may be available to anyone who cares for a loved one, family member or friend in their home who:

  • has a disability
  • has a mental illness
  • has a chronic condition
  • is frail aged.

There are many different situations where emergency respite care might be available, including:

  • the death of a family member or close friend
  • if you or another dependent family member are ill or injured
  • an urgent situation that makes it difficult for you to fulfil your role as a carer.

For more information about respite and support available for carers contact a Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 (1800 059 059 outside business hours) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For emergency respite, phone 1800 059 059.

More information about aged care services is available at  My Aged Care  or  by phoning 1800 200 422.

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