What is respite care in aged care? Respite care provides short-term care and support for an older person, usually either in a residential aged care home or based at that person’s home. Respite care can give carers and family members a short break and an important chance to recharge, all while knowing that the person is receiving high quality care.


The benefits of respite care

Respite care really can benefit everyone involved, from the person receiving care to the caregiver. Here are four key benefits of respite care for the elderly.


Caregivers can have a break

With Australia’s primary carers providing an average of 35.2 hours of care per week, caring can take a lot of time and energy. Using respite care doesn’t mean you don’t care – in fact, rather the opposite. It simply helps you to carve out some time for yourself – to relax, recharge, have a holiday or even attend to life admin that can fall by the wayside when you’re caring for someone. Taking breaks can actively help you to look after yourself and others.


The person receiving care gets a change of scene

If you’re a person receiving care, you might also welcome the fresh experiences that respite care can bring. If receiving respite care at home you may meet new people as part of your care team who visit you regularly. Or with a short stay at a residential aged care home, you can enjoy a complete change of scene and meet new people in a comfortable and caring environment. You could take the chance to try new hobbies as part of a diverse lifestyle program, and get to know new faces all supported with quality care.


There’s peace of mind all round

One of the great advantages of respite care is that everyone can enjoy the time with peace of mind. A carer can focus on enjoying their break knowing that the person they care for is being well looked after and supported in the most important ways. Meanwhile, the person receiving care can also enjoy knowing that their carer is taking some time for themselves. 


It can be an ideal way to try residential care

If you’re considering a move into residential aged care, respite care can be an ideal way to try it out first without any long-term commitments. Respite care can help to ease common anxieties around leaving familiar settings and moving into a new home. Plus, by getting to know your care team and fellow residents you could even have some friendly and familiar faces greeting you upon a permanent move.  


Things to consider before getting respite care

It’s easy to see the importance of respite care that will fit your unique needs and situation, as quality care is a very personal thing. Here are a few important things to think about when considering short-term care.


Quality of respite care

Above all else, it’s important to know you’re accessing the best care. Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions of providers so you can feel completely comfortable with your choice. You might ask about:

  • The provider’s aged care model and how this is put into practice
  • Possible ways to ease into respite care in the day-to-day
  • Dining, nutrition and important dietary considerations 
  • The clinical and care team who will be providing care.


Cost of respite care

The cost of respire care will depend on your circumstances and provider of choice. In many cases subsidised care is possible. For example:

  • You could be eligible for in-home or community respite under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)
  • Or, you could be eligible for up to 63 days of subsidised residential respite care in each financial year when approved by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). 

You can read more about eligibility and care options at My Aged Care.


Be aware that some providers may charge additional service fees, so ask each potential provider about how they structure costs. At Aurrum we keep our pricing transparent with guaranteed no extra fees


Time with loved ones

Maintaining meaningful connections is healthy for us all, and staying in touch with family and friends can help to make the respite care experience much smoother. Be sure to encourage loved ones to visit or call during the respite timeframe to keep these connections strong. 


Adjusting to new people and settings

The change from a primary carer to a respite carer may be daunting at first. It can help to choose a provider who focuses on personpeople-centred care, such as Aurrum Aged Care. This type of care gives you greater choice and control in how you receive support. 


Building trust

It can take a little while to get used to and trust a new respite carer, particularly with the more personal aspects of your life. This is why we sit down and develop a personalised care plan to outline how you like to spend your time and personal preferences. 


How do I know if respite care is for me?

You might consider accessing respite care if: 

  • You or your primary caregiver needs a break
  • You’d like to try an aged care home prior to making a permanent move
  • You need some additional support as you leave a hospital stay 
  • Your primary caregiver has a major illness or urgent situation


How long is respite care?

Respite care can cover any time frame from a few hours up to weeks or months. Residential respite care tends to include anywhere from a week up to several weeks, though of course this depends on your needs and availability from providers. 


Home vs residential respite care

Wondering about the difference between home-based and residential respite care? Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of respite care that are available.


Choosing home respite care

Home respite care is that which is provided at your home. Carers and care teams may visit you directly at your home, or drop in to help you with activities such as shopping or socialising.


Choosing residential respite care

Residential respite care is when you live at an aged care home and have all the support you need around the clock, as well as provided meals and lifestyle activities.


Choosing emergency respite care

Emergency respite care can be provided on an at-home or residential care basis, in situations where urgent respite relief is needed. Examples might include where a carer becomes ill or suddenly can’t provide care.


Do all aged care homes offer respite care?

Not every residential aged care home offers respite care and this can also depend on room availability, so it’s best to ask directly with the provider. At our various Aurrum locations through NSW and Victoria, we offer respite care and we welcome short stays. 


How do I apply for respite care?

If you require emergency respite care, the first step is to visit the Carer Gateway website or call 1800 422 737. Otherwise, it’s best to contact My Aged Care and request an aged care assessment to determine the most suitable type of care. And of course, you’re welcome to contact our team with any questions you might have about respite care.


Book a tour today

We’d love you to come and explore what quality aged care looks and feels like. Enquire today or call us on 1800 AURRUM (1800 287 786) to arrange a tour at your local Aurrum care home.