What is respite care at home?
If you provide care to a partner, relative or friend and need more time for yourself, it may be possible to arrange for care services to provide care within their home. This might be on a regular basis (for example, one day a week so that you can work, study or have a day off) or for a short period, such as a week, so that you can take a holiday. If the person you care for needs 24-hour supervision, it is possible to arrange for a care worker to stay overnight.
What options are available at home?
There are various options available for respite care and support at home.
- Sitting services, where someone can come in to sit with the person who needs care for a few hours.
- 24-hour live-in care, which can be arranged in an emergency or to provide a regular break for a carer. Suitable accommodation must be available within the home and this is seldom funded by local authorities. See the UK Homecare Association for more details.
- Night-time care, which can enable the regular carer to get a full night’s sleep for one or two nights a week. In the case of terminal illness, this care can sometimes be provided by Macmillan or Marie Curie nurses.
- Assistive technology, where home activity monitors and telehealth devices can offer peace of mind by helping people to be safer at home for longer without a carer. For more information, see our mobility and disability aid guides in Which? Home & garden.
Finding a respite homecare provider
- Contact local charities, such as the Royal Voluntary Society (RVS), Age UK, Macmillan or Marie Curie, who may be able to help with respite care at home.
- Employ a private live-in carer - however, there are lots of things to think about for this option: see live-in care.
- Contact a homecare agency about a live-in carer: to find home care providers in the local area, enter your loved one’s postcode in our care services directory and filter to show domiciliary care.
Cost of care and eligibility in England
Use our calculator to find out how much care might cost and what financial support is available.
Benefits for carers
If you are a carer you may be able to claim benefits such as Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Credit. We explain how to get assessed and what’s available.
Organising home care
Many older people live independently with the help of family, friends and professional carers. Explore the different types of home care and how to arrange it.
We provide practical information on sheltered housing, extra care housing, assisted living and supported housing, with advice on the renting and buying options.