Post No25…Who Cares for the Carer?

Post No25…Who Cares for the Carer?
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash


Carers are fantastic people. They work tirelessly in what can be challenging conditions for the benefit of the people they care for, and whether they are paid or unpaid, they do an amazing job and should be commended for the work they do.

For the purpose of this post, I am focusing more on unpaid carers. Unpaid carers can take many forms, they can be spouses, sons, daughters, friends, or neighbours, but many of them have one thing in common…they are exhausted!

Listed in this post are a few ways that carers can find support to take breaks, which is both important to them, but also the person they care for.

Why is this important?

When a person is being cared for at home, by an unpaid carer, the carer can occasionally get a little bit overlooked. This does make some sense, because everyone’s (including the carers) primary focus is the person who needs care, and not on ‘the healthy one’ who is doing the caring.

Many of the carers who I have spoken to in my time are both tired and stressed by their ‘role’ as primary carer. Being an unpaid carer can mean anything, from a few hours a week right up to 24/7, including sleepless nights and very little time to yourself during the week.

If an elderly carer is burnt out, they are not going to be able to properly look after themselves, let alone someone else who has higher care needs. In order to be the best they can be, carers need and should take regular breaks whenever they can.

Let’s have a look at some options below:

Respite Care in a care home.

One of the most well-known ways for carers to take breaks is by utilising respite care in a care home. Using respite care for this reason is very common, with some care homes offering a booking system where carers can book respite in advance, allowing for regular breaks. Carers should not feel guilty about doing this, for the respite care is more for them than the person going into the care home.

If a local care home is offering a booking system, it gives carers the opportunity to visit friends, or perhaps take a short holiday. It enables carers to rest, and to recover their mental and physical strength. This is ever so important, because we all know we are at our best when we are well rested in body and mind.

Did you know? Carers allowance is a state benefit; you can apply for £69.70 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week.

Day Centres / Day Care

Another invaluable service for carers is day care, although it is not always easy to find. Day care means a person is dropped off whilst the carer takes the day to themselves, leaving the person in a safe and friendly environment. Day care will offer the guest entertainment, food, and the support they need throughout the day, but more importantly they provide a break for the carer.

Although a much-needed service, day care services are not always easy to discover, however, please find some more information for places in Hampshire below.

Day Centres (no day care)

Some day centres might not offer a drop off service (Day Care) but they will offer the opportunity for both carers, and the person being cared for, to meet other people and socialise. Often, people meet others who are in a similar position and share information or insight, making them good places to make new friends.

Although the carer may not be getting time alone in these settings, staying connected to your community is very valuable, as sometimes caring for someone can lead the carer becoming isolated. Getting to day centres, or other places providing a similar service, can be vital to the mental wellbeing of the carer.

Memory Cafes

Similar to day centres but for people living with dementia, memory cafes are great places to socialise and, like day centres, can provide mental stimulation and information to carers. More on memory cafes can be found here.

Top Tip - Carers in Southampton is a charity that supports unpaid carers - find out more here

Domiciliary Care

Some domiciliary (home care) providers can also provide respite care. This will involve a paid carer coming to the family home whilst the primary carer takes some much-needed time to themselves. There may also be the opportunity to make this a regular break, perhaps on a weekly basis. In Hampshire, there is a good service provider called Right at Home Solent, more info can be found below.


We all appreciate that we are not at our best when we are tired, which is why it is so important for carers to take breaks to recover their strength. If you are an unpaid carer, and need some time to yourself, do consider some of the options mentioned in this post.

Keeping active in the community, and staying in touch with friends, family and resting are all good ways for carers to retain their identity, and to remain capable, willing and able to be in such an important position as a primary carer.

The Care Whisperer says 'unpaid carers sometimes do not see themselves as carers'

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