What is a respite holiday?
Respite holidays allow people with illnesses or disabilities, and/or their carers, to take a break from everyday life.
When considering a respite holiday there are three main options.
- Respite holidays with care: the person you’re caring for goes on holiday to a specialist centre that can provide the care and support they need, while you take your own break from caring.
- Holidays together: you and the person you care for take a holiday together. This allows you both to enjoy a change of scenery and the benefits of a holiday without arranging replacement care. Although this option offers you a change of scene, it doesn’t allow you time away from the day-to-day caring responsibilities.
- Breaks for carers: you take a holiday while the person you care for stays in a care home, or is cared for by someone else, for a short time.
Choosing a respite holiday
There are several different options, and only you and your family can decide what’s best for you. Here are some of the choices available to you.
Respite holidays with care
Respite holidays with care offer specialist accommodation, travel and activities for people with illnesses or disabilities. They usually offer care and support in accessible surroundings so that your loved one can relax and enjoy themselves in a holiday setting, while you can have peace of mind that they’re being taken care of.
Some companies offer specialist respite holidays for people with disabilities and their carers/family, too. Your friend or relative can get the care and support that they need, and you’ll be able to enjoy your time together more if there is someone to help with your caring duties. A change of scenery and a break from routine could do you both the world of good. There are a range of options to suit people with specific illnesses, and different mobility and care needs. You might want to check out the following:
- If the person you care for has mobility problems, you’ll need to find accessible accommodation. Tourism For All is a UK charity that offers advice and information about accessible holidays both in the UK and abroad.
- MindforYou offer supported holidays in the UK for people who are living with dementia and their carers to enjoy together.
- Revitalise offers holidays for people with illnesses and disabilities, and their carers, at a choice of three centres in the UK. It runs lots of excursions and activities, and you can tailor breaks around your interests, such as culture, art or music. They offer special weeks for people with dementia.
- Dementia Adventure is a registered charity that helps people living with dementia to retain a sense of adventure by getting outdoors and connecting with nature, themselves and their community.
A change of scenery and a break from routine could do you both the world of good.
Respite holidays together: things to consider
If your loved one is travelling with you, it is worth considering the following points.
- Check if you are eligible for any help with financing respite care.
- Some centres will take larger groups, so you could go with other family members, too.
- Different holidays have different levels of care available, so make sure that the centre you have chosen can cater for your loved one’s needs.
- How far away is the centre and how would you get there? How long a journey could your friend or relative cope with?
- Does the transport and accommodation meet the needs of the person you’re caring for?
- Will you be able to access the necessary medicines or medical supplies while you are away, or can you take them with you?
- Don’t forget to cancel any homecare and support services that won’t be needed while you’re away.
Do you have adequate travel insurance cover for both of you? Take a look at the Which? Money guide to finding travel insurance if you’re over 65.
Breaks for carers
Caring for someone full time can be very demanding – both physically and emotionally – so it’s perfectly natural that you’ll need some time apart every now and then to recharge your batteries.
If you want to arrange your own holiday, with family or friends, or alone, you’ll need to find alternative care for the person you look after while you’re away. See our articles on respite care in a care home or respite care and support at home for more information about replacement care. If you plan to travel without the person you care for, check out respite care options to arrange alternative care for them while you are away.
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