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Respite Care for the elderly

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  • Respite Care for the elderly

    As this is carers corner, and I am currently trying to put together something about homes, care and how they work for those who are in need of, or caring for someone in need of, care, I thought a bit about respite care would do best here.

    Can I just say that I am a care assistant, meaning that I earn a wage for caring for people in a residential care home. I have also been a carer for my nan. Care assistants are employed to care, they often have qualifications and training and are paid. Carers are usually friends or relatives of someone who needs some form of care, and are not employed.

    When someone is cared for at home, it is a 24hrs a day 7 days a week commitment. Often spouses are the sole carers and are of similar age and health to the person they are caring for. Everyone needs a break at some point and respite care is there to offer carers a break. Sometimes this can be due to the carers own ill health and may need to be arranged in an emergency.

    Respite care can also be used when someone who lives alone, with some support, needs more help for a period of time, for example after discharge from hospital.

    Types of respite


    Where the person in need of care stays in a residential/nursing home for a set period of time. Sometimes this may to be provide a break for their main carer, or to give extra support to someone who is fit to be discharged from hospital but may not cope at home.


    This is where care assistants or support workers are employed to come into the home of the person being cared for to give the main carer a few hours a day, or maybe one day a week 'off' from caring.

    Fees and funding

    All local authorities have their own scales of fees and arrangements for funding. There is the option of arranging and paying for the care yourself, but this can be expensive, although often quicker. If you are funded by the LA, you are given an assessment of your needs. This will determine the level of care that you need. Then you are given a means test on your income to decide how much the LA will pay for or towards your care. You will then know how much you can spend on care and look at the relevant options open within your financial means. Sometimes, if your needs meet the criteria, the NHS may fund your care partly or fully. Some charities also offer help with fees for respite care. Age UK, your local social services department and your GP can all give you information on how to apply for funding for respite care in your area.

    Arranging respite care

    You can visit the appropriate care homes in your area and enquire about their respite availabilities. All staff will be trained/and or supervised and will hold Criminal Bureaux Checks.

    You can ask social services if they can arrange respite care for you, although this is mainly done through a private care company now as few councils have their own care assistants employed any more.

    You can approach a private care providing company and ask to be added to their books. They will take note of your needs as assessed by social services and arrange the appropriate level of care for you. They will have several care assistants on their books who will come into your home on a rota basis and help you with what you need. All staff will be trained/and or supervised and will hold Criminal Bureaux Checks.

    You can employ someone yourself. You will be classed as an employer and have duties as such.

    Please bear in mind that all situations differ and I've written this as a general guide for where to start if you, or someone you know, may need elderly respite care. Elderly is generally considered 65 years and over (I know I know lol) for funding and things. I hope it can help someone.
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