Being a carer can be emotionally and physically very tiring. Many carers don't think enough about their own health and well-being and may suffer from exhaustion or stress as a result. Taking a break from caring is essential, even if it's only a few hours. It allows you to see friends, relax and meet new people - all the things that most of us take for granted. Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries.

Time out for a short break

As a carer, it is important that you look after yourself and one of the ways you can do this is by having some time away from your caring role. This might be just an hour or so to go shopping or visit a friend, or it might be for a longer period such as a weekend away. 

What is a short break?

A short break is designed for you as the carer, and can put in place appropriate care and support for the person you care for while you have some time to yourself. This may be as simple as someone keeping your loved one company in their own home while you are out, or may involve going out and taking part in activities that they enjoy or a short term placement in a care home. Of course, the level of support required will depend on the person's individual needs.

Help from your family and friends

Many carers find that a friend or family member may be able to provide care or support for a few hours or more so that they can take a break. If you have no one who is able to do this, you may still be able to take a break in other ways:

Arranging care and support yourself

  • You can arrange for a care agency to support the person you care for and keep them company so that you can have some time to yourself.
  • The person you care for may be able to attend a day centre, activity, group or club during the day and sometimes in the evening.
  • If you need a longer break, both day and night, you could arrange for a short-term placement in a care home depending on the level of the person's needs. This gives you a complete break from caring.


Getting support from the Council

If you regularly provide care and support for someone and live with the person, you may be able to help so that you can take a break. Both the person you care for and you will need an assessment.

If you are eligible for support, your break, also called respite, will be included in the cared for person's Personal Budget. There may be a charge for some services but the assessor will discuss the options with you during the assessment. 


What is available?

  • The Shared Lives Scheme offers respite care in a different setting from the family home, or supported accommodation.
  • Some care homes may be able to offer short term respite care to allow you to take a holiday.
  • Crossroads Care provides respite care services for local carers. They can also help you find an accessible holiday resorts and look at funding options.

How to spend your break

You may have spent so much time caring for someone that when you finally get a break, you are unsure what to do. You may decide to spend your time resting or seeing friends and family or you may enjoy a number of activities including: 

  • Going on holiday
  • Arranging relaxation therapies such as massage or reflexology
  • Going to a museum, gallery, the cinema or theatre
  • Enjoying your hobbies.

Richmond Carers Centre offer complementary therapies to allow carers to get away from their day-to-day and unwind, even when they only have a few hours to themselves. 

Richmond Carers Centre
Phone: 020 8867 2380

The Richmond Carers Hub service will be able to give you further advice. They can also provide some respite care but spaces are limited and there may be a wait.

Useful contacts:

Richmond Carers Hub Service
Address: 5 Briar Road, Twickenham, TW2 6RB
Phone: 020 8867 2380

Richmond Council Adult Access Team
Address: Adult Social Services, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
Phone: 020 8891 7971
Minicom: 18001 020 8891 7971