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What is Respite in Aged Care?

6th July 2020 | 3 mins

Eric Respite

If you are caring for an elderly person - in your own home or theirs - you will no doubt have experienced the weight of the responsibility and the intensity of the commitment, no matter how dear they are to you. Whether it’s a few hours a day or around-the-clock care, those who care for an elderly loved one understandably need a break from their duties from time to time. 

Nevertheless, to take time off to attend to those personal obligations, finally take that holiday or recharge your batteries, carers first need to know that their loved one will be in good hands. That’s where respite care or respite centres can help. 

Many residential aged care homes offer short-term ‘respite’ care or even daycare for elderly people, allowing carers the opportunity to have a break from caring, confident in the knowledge that their loved one is receiving the support they need.  

In order to be eligible for government-funded respite care, the person you’re caring for will need to undergo an ACAT assessment (or ACAS in Victoria) to determine the level of care required. To arrange an ACAT assessment, contact ACAT directly on 1800 200 422, apply online, or simply call your local GP.

With respite care eligibility in place, older Australians can access up to 63 days of subsidised care in a financial year. This includes both planned and emergency residential respite care and can be extended by 21 days at a time with the approval of an aged care assessor. Whatever the duration, it’s time to begin exploring aged care homes to find the best possible home to care for your loved one in your absence.

For some people, respite care will be just that, a temporary home away from home, offering carers some much-needed time off. But for others, respite may prove to be a valuable opportunity to experience life in a residential aged care setting and in some cases, may even be the beginning of a brand-new chapter.

At Wahroonga Place Care Community, Michael (a long term resident) welcomed and befriended Eric who was a newly admitted respite resident at the time, pictured above.

The two of them enjoyed each other’s company since they were introduced to each other.

Michael read stories to Eric who would come out of the room and enjoy our Indian themed outdoor lounge. Michael was very pleased to have someone to speak with and listen to the stories he loves to share and Eric felt like he found a friend who made him feel at home. Although Eric has returned home, it was a wonderful connection for them both. 

Michael continues to welcome new residents and runs a book club enjoyed by residents both in permanent and respite care.

Jean stayed for Respite Care at Mornington Bay Care Community and has shared her experience in the video below.


Hear about Jean's experience in Respite Care

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