Taking a break

Australia has over 2.7 million carers, 12% of the population. The chances are you personally are a carer, need a carer or know a carer.

Carers are people who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged. They are an integral part of Australia’s health system and are the foundation of our aged, disability, palliative and community care systems.

‘Respite’ simply means taking a break. It’s important that carers take time for themselves to rest and recharge while respite care services look after the person being cared for. It provides an opportunity for both people to take a break.

Respite can be accessed for a few hours, a few days, or longer depending on the needs, eligibility, and services available in the area.  It can be accessed in the home, out in the community, or in an aged care home.

The Carer Gateway has information respite care services as well as My Aged Care.

Respite can be planned in advance, but it is also available in emergencies.

Situations where emergency respite care might be needed, include:

  • death of a primary carer
  • major illness of a primary carer
  • an urgent situation that makes it difficult for your carer to look after you.

Having an emergency care plan makes it easier for someone to take over for the carer in a hurry.

If emergency respite care in needed, contact the local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on:

More information may be required to make sure the right type of care can be provided.

Further information on emergency respite is available on the Carer Gateway.

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