Caring for family members can also be financially hard, such as when carers need to reduce their working hours, give up their job, or use their savings. Government assistance is available in some cases.

Centrelink can provide financial assistance for carers.
Telephone: 13 27 17

What the research shows

If you are frail or generally unwell,* respite care for you while your carer takes a break can mean that your carer is at less risk of depression.

If an older person has moderate or severe dementia, respite care can help support their carer’s health.

What the experts agree upon

Flexible arrangements for respite care are likely to be the most helpful. In particular, respite care needs to be readily available in the case of an emergency; for example, if a carer becomes sick.

Respite care needs to be made available at frequent intervals because its benefits are likely to be short lived.

What this means for older people

Ask your health care professional about what respite options are available. Planning ahead for respite care is a good option but you also need to know what is available in case of an emergency.

See the Community Care Guidelines for more details (see page 7).

*with advanced life-limiting illness that is nonspecific or due to many illnesses