Carer breaks

Being a carer can be emotionally and physically very tiring. Many carers don't think enough about their own health and well-being and may suffer from exhaustion or stress as a result. Taking a break from caring is essential, even if it's only a few hours. It allows you to see friends, relax and meet new people - all the things that most of us take for granted. Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries.

A break might be just an hour or so to go shopping or visit a friend, or it might be for a longer period such as a weekend away.

Help from your family and friends

Many carers find that a friend or family member may be able to provide care or support for a few hours or more so that they can take a break. If you have no one who is able to do this, you may still be able to take a break in other ways.

Arranging care and support yourself

  • you can arrange for a care agency to support the person you care for and keep them company so that you can have some time to yourself
  • the person you care for may be able to attend a day centre, activity, group or club during the day and sometimes in the evening
  • if you need a longer break, both day and night, you could arrange for a short-term placement in a care home (called Carer respite) depending on the level of the person's needs. This gives you a complete break from caring. 

How to spend your break

You may have spent so much time caring for someone that when you finally get a break, you are unsure what to do. You may decide to spend your time resting or seeing friends and family or you may enjoy a number of activities including: 

  • going on holiday
  • arranging relaxation therapies such as massage or reflexology
  • attend a local carer support group
  • going to a museum, gallery, the cinema or theatre
  • enjoying your hobbies

Carers UK can provide information and advice to help you take a break.