About respite

Respite means taking a break from your caring role. There are different types of respite support available.

Types of respite

Respite care (also known as ‘short-term care’) is a form of support for you and the person you care for. It gives you the opportunity to take a break from the caring role while the person you care for continues to receive the support they need. Respite care may be given informally by family, friends or neighbours, or by formal respite services.

Respite can help carers to continue caring for longer by giving them time to attend to their own health and wellbeing, spend time with other family members and friends and do tasks they don’t have time for when they are caring.

Respite care can be arranged for a few hours, a few days or even for longer periods, depending on your needs, the needs of the person you care for, your eligibility and what services are available in your area. 

Some common types of respite are listed below. In home: a support worker looks after the person you care for in your home

  • Facility or residential based: the person you care for stays for a short period in a care facility like an aged care home or supported accommodation
  • Community based: the person you care for joins a day program at an adult day centre, neighbourhood house or community health centre
  • Alternative family care: your family and friends may be able to help with your caring responsibilities while you take a break. Some organisations can also arrange for a trained volunteer carer or family to provide regular care, activities and friendship for the person you care for
  • Recreation based: you and the care recipient can join organised recreation, social or leisure activities either together or separately
  • Emergency respite: is sometimes available if you need to deal with sudden illness, accidents, family troubles or emergencies

Organising and paying for respite

If you care for someone over the age of 65 years, you may be able to access respite support through a Home Care Package or the Commonwealth Home Support Program. If you need more information, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat) or visit www.myagedcare.gov.au.

If you care for a person with disability under the age of 65 years, they may be eligible for support under an NDIS plan that provides the carer with a respite effect. If the person you care for is not already an NDIS participant, contact the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110 or visit www.ndis.gov.au to see if they are eligible.

If the person is accessing the NDIS, but you are not getting the respite support you need, consider asking for a review of the NDIS plan, explaining your need for a break in relation to the goals of the person you care for, and the importance of a break in supporting you to continue caring.

For more information on carers and the NDIS, visit our NDIS webpage.

Other carers should contact your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 to talk about the options available in your area. Your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre can help you choose from the options available to you and plan flexible respite that best meets your needs, and the needs of the person you care for. Not all respite opportunities will be available in your area and most will involve a cost. They may also be able to help you to organise bookings and find out if financial assistance is available to help you cover any costs.

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Carers NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, Elders past and present and all Aboriginal people.