Understanding aged care respite

Support for carers: understanding and accessing residential aged care respite

For so many families, caring for a loved one is an act of love. But while our hearts are filled with love, the job of being a carer is demanding, emotionally exhausting and constant. Like everyone, carers deserve time for themselves to rest and recuperate – as the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

At Carinity, we also believe that respite care is enormously beneficial and enjoyable for our respite residents, too.

What is respite care?

Respite care is a short-term stay in an aged care community. A period of respite provides a break for carers and a change of scenery for the family or friends they care for. It can also be helpful after a hospital admission, when care needs might be higher.

Families access respite for all different reasons. Respite care is an incredible beneficial opportunity for all carers. We recommend including it in your care plans, so you can schedule regular breaks to avoid carers fatigue.

Here are some of the benefits we see for those in our community.

Respite benefits for carers:

  • Rest and relaxation. Caring for someone can be very demanding, both physically and emotionally. Respite care can give carers a break to recharge and come back to their caring role feeling refreshed and renewed.
  • An opportunity to take care of themselves. Carers often put their own needs last, but it’s important for them to take care of themselves both physically and mentally. Respite care can give carers a chance to do things they enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, going on holiday, or simply relaxing at home. Some of our carers also use respite care when they need to prioritise their health or visit hospital.
  • Prevent carer fatigue. Carer burnout is a real risk, and it can have serious impacts on the carer’s health and well-being. Respite care can help to prevent carer burnout by giving carers a regular, scheduled break where they can relax and know their loved one is completely taken care of.
Aged Care Star Ratings explained

Respite benefits for residents:

  • A change of scenery and routine. Respite care can provide a change of scenery and routine for the person receiving care. This can be beneficial for their physical and mental health.
  • Social interaction and engagement. Our aged care communities are bustling with activities and entertainment, offering a chance to socialize and try new things. This is a wonderful opportunity for people who are socially isolated or whose health would benefit for some fresh new activities.
  • Care you can trust. As an accredited aged care community, we’re fully staffed with highly qualified caring professionals and support staff. This means that you can relax in the confidence that your loved one is receiving the best possible care. There’s also the ability to organise extra visits from allied health carers during their stay.

Another key benefit to respite care is getting to experience life in an aged care community first hand. Moving into permanent aged care can be daunting, so respite is a positive way to visit a community before making a long-term shift. In fact, we find that many of our respite clients eventually convert to permanent residents once they’ve experienced the care and community at Carinity.


How to access respite care in Australia

For many of our respite clients their visit is planned in advance, however emergency respite care is available too. Eligible clients can access 63 days of respite care each financial year, with the possibility to extend with approval from an Aged Care Assessment Team.

To access respite care, you will need to contact My Aged Care to arrange a current assessment from the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). You may already have this is you’re receiving Home Care. Then, it’s as easy as contacting us on 1300 109 109 to chat through our availability and whether we can offer respite to suit your needs.

Respite care costs

In aged care, many of the costs are means-tested. This means that you’ll only ever be asked to pay what you can afford based on your personal financial circumstances.

At Carinity, you’ll be required to pay the Basic Daily Care Fee that is applicable to all respite and permanent residents. This is set at 85% of the single basic age pension. Generally, respite fees are payable in advance for your stay. There may be additional costs for wifi, telephone access, medications and any extra services, such as allied health visits, that you choose to arrange.

Depending on your personal circumstances, there may be other options available to pay for your respite costs, including through a Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) or Home Care Package. If you’re accessing these support services, speak to your Coordinator.

A valuable support service

If you’re interested in finding out more about respite care within a Carinity community, we make the process easy. Just give us a call on 1300 109 109 or email agedcare@carinity.org.au and we’ll take you through the process. It’s important to note that respite care is subject to availability.