Taking A Break

Carers NI

Caring for somebody can be a full time job so breaks are vital to your own wellbeing and quality of life. When was the last time you gave yourself a break? When did you last have an evening out, go for a swim, try something new, take a holiday? When did you last have a chance to do all the things you would like to do, but can’t do while you are caring – everyday things such as meeting up with friends, visiting family or simply catching up with some sleep? Taking a break also means that the person you are looking after may be able to enjoy new experiences, have a change of scene and routine and mix with other people.

Different sorts of breaks

There are different ways in which you may take a break as a carer. Only you will know what type of break is best for you. You may need an hour each week, a day here and there, a week or two for a holiday, or a combination of all of these. Think about the kind of break that you need as a carer and what kind of service the person you are looking after needs. Some carers may choose to go on holiday with the person they are looking after or to go away alone – but a short break or holiday may not always involve going away. Some carers enjoy a short break from caring, which involves the person they are looking after going on holiday and the carer staying at home.

Getting alternative care so you can take a break

There are different options for getting support for the person you are looking after while you are away.

Social services

Your local Health and Social Care Trust social services department can 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.

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 is provided at the end of this factsheet.

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 mean that friends or family visit the person being cared for 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.

Organisations that can help

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. Your local trust or carers’ organisation should have information about local charities and organisations. A list of national charities and organisations is provided from page 13 onwards.

For more information on:

  • help through social services to get a break
  • finding care yourself
  • planning your break
  • funding the break
  • how a break might affect your benefits
  • getting help to organise and fund a break
  • arranging care privately

Click here to download the full factsheet.

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