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Time out from caring

Everybody needs some time to themselves. Getting time for yourself can be good for both you and the person you care for.

Asking for help from family or friends

If you are comfortable with the idea, ask family, friends or perhaps a neighbour to provide a small amount of care. This could be a couple of hours a week to give you time to relax or catch up on seeing friends.

A local care group may be able to provide half a day's care a few times a month. There are carers' groups in many parts of the country. Some areas have carers' workers whose job is to co-ordinate groups and get support for people.

Short-term care

Some local councils provide a range of services to give carers a break. Sometimes, the choice may be limited or there may be a wait. Ask your council what services there are and how to access them.

Here are some services which may help you to take a break:

  • day-sitting service for shopping, visiting friends and other activities
  • night-sitting service to allow you to get a full night's sleep or to go out
  • a short-term stay in a care home for the person you care for
  • time in a day centre for the person you care for
  • the opportunity for the person you care for to go out with others, allowing you to have time to yourself at home

Short-term breaks

Your local council may work with voluntary organisations or charities and involve specialist short break providers to offer you a break.

A short-term break does not have to mean going away from home, although it often does.

Usually, either the carer or the person being cared for goes on a short break. There are breaks where you and the person you care for can stay together if you want to.

What's important is that both of you are happy with whatever arrangements are made.


You and the person you care for may be able to receive vouchers from your local council for short-term breaks. This gives you the freedom to choose where and when to have a break. These schemes aren't available everywhere so check with your local social services.

Apply for a short-term break for a carer locally

The following link will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local authority website, where you can apply for a short-term break and/or find out more.

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