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Planning access to respite services

2-minute read

It's common for people with dementia to find new situations and new people unsettling. But it's important for you to take a break from your caring role.

Planning ahead to make the respite experience a positive experience for the person with dementia can help. This might mean:

  • telling respite staff clearly about your needs and the needs of the person with dementia
  • telling respite staff about the likes and dislikes of the person with dementia
  • starting with small breaks and building up to longer breaks to give both you, and the person you care for, confidence about the experience
  • talking to other people in a similar situation about what has worked for them.

Sometimes the person with dementia may not wish to leave the family or leave home for a break, or they may display uncharacteristic behaviours when using respite or afterwards. These problems are not unusual and should not stop you taking a break.

It’s also important to seek help and support, such as respite care, early in your caring role. Having time to yourself to look after your own needs can help you continue in your caring role for longer.

Call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 if you need help and support in adjusting to respite care.

Last reviewed: October 2016

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Top results

Dementia Australia | Using respite care

Respite careenables families and carers to have a rest, go out, attend to business or go on a holiday. Many people find that a regular break means that they can recharge and avoid burn out. It also gives a person with dementia an opportunity to socialise and meet other people. The Government funds many different types of respite to help families and carers. If you want to know more about what respite is available in your area there are a number of organisations that can help you.

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Caring for someone with an illness or disability - Australian Government Department of Human Services

You can get financial help and other services if you care for someone with a disability, an illness or who is frail aged.

Read more on Centrelink website

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