Explaining respite care costs for family carers

When you are caring for a loved one at home, be that an ageing parent or your spouse, it is easy to lose yourself in your caring duties, forgetting to also look after yourself. Many people get on with it and haven’t even realised that getting respite care is easier that you might think. Here, we aim to help by explaining respite care costs as well as how respite care works.

Recognising that you need a break is the first step, all too often this realisation comes to a carer in a moment of crisis or burnout. Getting to the point of emotional and physical exhaustion is not only detrimental to your mental and physical health, it also weakens the immune system. If you get sick you will be forced to rest, and you may also risk your loved one’s health being compromised should you be contagious.

Respite care, helps you in many ways, including:
  • Recharge and recuperate
  • Enabling you to do some things for yourself
  • Keeping your own sense of identity
  • Helping you take time of to recover from illness
  • Allowing you to take care of you
  • Helping to retain healthy relationships
  • Refreshed perspective

The important thing to tell yourself is that getting help is not failing. Everyone needs a break. Think of it this way, if you were working for an employer, you would be legally entitled to breaks and days off. If you were not to take any of these breaks, you would become exhausted and sick, resulting in your not being able to work.

Paying for respite care costs depends on the regularity and urgency of your needs, also your personal circumstances.

Get a Carer’s Assessment

First of all, you will need to go through what is known as a Carer’s Assessment. The assessment is aimed at finding the best way to support you and how life can be made easier for you. It involves a face to face meeting with someone from your Local Authority, so it’s best to be prepared with some notes. Have a think about how your caring responsibilities affect you. You might want to think about some of the following:

  • Is it affecting your relationships with your spouse/family/friends?
  • Are you able to meet all the needs of the person you are caring for?
  • Do you want to, and are you able to continue with the caring?
  • Is there anything that will make life easier for you?
  • If you work as well, does caring affect your job?
  • How much time do you need off?
  • Are you still able to take care of yourself?
  • Is there anything you would like training for?

Keep a diary of what you do for a week or so before the meeting with the local authority so that you can also explain how much work is involved in your caring responsibility.

Benefits for carers

There are benefits available to carers who spend a certain amount of time caring for a relative or friend. You will need to meet specific criteria to receive them, it’s worth checking whether you are able to get some financial support if you haven’t already.

Carers allowance is available to people who are caring for someone for 35 hours a week or more, and meet eligibility criteria. The person you are caring for must also be in receipt of certain benefits.

People who are over 65 and caring for a loved on may be entitled to Attendance Allowance.

Paying for respite care privately

If you don’t qualify for funding from the Local Authority, and this may be that the person you are caring for is paying for their care privately, then it’s still advisable to complete a carers assessment as you may still be pointed in the right direction for some local support.

Arranging respite home care

Whether you are paying for respite home care privately or have Local Authority Funding, you are able to choose your home care provider. The home care provider should come and have a face to face meeting with you and the person you are caring for. Following this, a care assessment is completed and support plan created to ensure all needs and wishes are being met.

Once you are set up with a home care provider, you will be able to book in your regular breaks, get emergency cover and have support on hand when you need it.

Other financial help

If you will find it difficult to fund your own respite care and do not qualify for funding, then there are other sources of help you can try such as your local Carers Trust and benevolent funds.