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Better health for people living
with dementia

Time out for carers

Taking time for themselves can be challenging for carers. Carers may benefit from:

  • counselling to help them to identify that they need some time out
  • a support group to feel OK about taking it
  • help in navigating the system to find the right service to provide the respite to make it happen.

Practice points

Social workers, dementia advisors, key workers and others who specialise in working with people living with dementia:

  • provide information about and referral to respite services.

Norma's story

Norma cares for her husband Todd. While she finds it manageable, she needs a break. She’s been using two different services, depending on her needs. She can get up to three hours respite at home when a carer comes to visit, or she can get a full day by taking Todd to a respite service for a full day, or even overnight. While she’s been using respite intermittently, the respite service has recommended that she take Todd there each Friday to give herself a scheduled break.

‘It is what it is,’ she says. ‘There’s no point wishing it was any other way. But I couldn’t do it without the respite.’

Comment from dementia advisor and psychologist Anne

Norma has been attending a carers’ support group for some time, and it’s probably played a part in Norma getting the respite she needs. I believe the support group has given Norma confidence as a carer. It’s given her specific knowledge, sometimes from the guest speakers we have, and sometimes drawing on my experience and the experience of others in the group. But it’s also allowed her to see that others need a break and support as well, and it’s normalised the experience for her.