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If you’re a full-time carer or spend a lot of time caring for someone, it's important to make time for yourself, too – both for the sake of your own health and wellbeing and to give you the energy to carry on caring.

Having a break doesn’t mean you are letting down the person you care for. It's sensible to have time to rest, catch up with friends and pursue your own interests.

Respite care

Respite care is the term used for replacement services which enable you to take a break from caring.

This can include a range of things, such as employing someone to sit with the person you care for, cook for them, take them to a day centre, or arranging temporary residential care.

If your assessment or the assessment for the person you care for shows you need respite care, the local council should provide it.

You might be able to get financial support from the council to help you take a break, but respite services are means-tested so you or the person you care for may have to contribute towards the cost.

Alternatively, there are some benevolent funds and charities that may be able to help you with the costs.

Your Carer’s Allowance when you have a break

If you have time off from caring, there are special rules to decide whether you’ll continue to receive Carer’s Allowance. The basic rule is that you can continue to receive your Carer’s Allowance for up to four weeks in any six-month period if you have a break from caring.

However, the rules are complicated, so you should get specialist advice from the Carer’s Allowance Unit by calling 0345 608 4321.

If you’re receiving any other benefits which include extra amounts for caring, these may be affected if you have a break from caring.

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For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

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