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Short breaks - Carers UK Forum

Short breaks

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Hi. my name is Gareth and i'm new to the forum so go easy on me!

i work for a charity in Sheffield and have worked with children and adults with learning disabilities for a number of years.

i have been asked to do a little project on why short breaks are important for family carers and whilst i think i have a good understanding of this area through work, i am not a family carer myself! - so i thought it would be good to get the perspective of any family carers out there!

any thoughts?

(sorry if this is in the wrong section!!)


Hi Gareth

I have been looking after my husband since 1992 (spinal condition) and after much organizing I am going away for 4 days this Thursday. This break is vital because I just need time out to think... assess the situation, think about myself and actually relax without one ear listening out. I don't plan on doing anything terribly exciting just chillin at a good friends. Without it I think I am on the verge of snapping and doing a runner! It just helps to put things back in perspective for both of us and makes each other value the other more. He's my best friend and I love him dearly but sometimes he can be a bit of a nightmare and it isn't like I can clock off and go home...also I am shattered so recharge the ole batteries...
hope that helps
Hi Gareth,

Like Tessie, i am lucky enough to be able to have a few days away next week. First proper break in ten years of caring for my dad. He has bronchitis and acute renal failure, and while he is not as hard to look after as he could be, he is still very demanding. Both physically and mentally. This break is going to be my time to remember who i am, even for just a few days. I can go for a walk when i want to. I can stay in bed if i want to (if my daughter lets me lol) i can do nothing but watch tele all day if the need so takes me. It's time to relax form the worries of being a carer, time i can sleep well not worrying if he will be up during the night, not listening out for any noises, not preparing his meals, and drinks, and washing and letting the care worker in...time to forget my responsabilities just for a few days, so i can come back refreshed and recharged, ready for the next challenge that is about to slap me round the face lol
Respite breaks give us a chance to think of our own needs for a bit, without watching the clock.

Our last few such breaks had to be organised within the family because Mike refused other forms of respite. Now family can't help any more and we're having to go down other routes to try to sort something out.
I care for my Mum who has Alzheimers, but is still able to live independently. I see her everyday and frequently get called out in the middle of the night if she has a bad dream. I haven't had a break for the last two years as I need to be on call 24/7 x 365.

A break away, if only for a couple of days, would be heaven. To be able to do absolutely anything without having to be at the other end of a phone would be sheer bliss. I can't even go out for an evening as by the time I got back home there would be at least 3 messages on the answerphone, each one more panicky than the last because she hadn't remembered that I was going out and couldn't get hold of me.

Most Carers find that they end up having no time for themselves as their caring duties get in the way of any 'me' time - time, that most non-Carers take for granted.

A break away from caring duties (however short), gives the Carer much needed time to re-charge batteries so that they can go back into the 'fray' refreshed and with renewed energy.
There's not much more that I can add to what has already been written. It's important to realise that like many others, I care for my son AND my mother - both with different complaints. So, if I get a break from one, there is still the other to still care for.
With a break away, it means that I get the chance to not have to worry about either of them and take a chance to relax properly. As has been said, even if I get the chance for a sit down at home, there is still a part of my brain and hearing that is listening out for and getting ready for a situation where I will have to move fast.
Oh, to be able to go where I want, when I want, how I want, without feeling guilty or have my time there rationed.
The only problem I can see about going away for a break, is the coming back! Image
Hi, I'm one of the lucky ones - I have some respite attahced to my direct payment and I so appreciate it.
I get a midweek (5 days) away in the spring, another in the summer and again in winter.

These breaks let me have some me time to relax and behave just as everyone else does!
I mostly sleep as it's a constant struggle with sleep deprevation for me!

I go with my mum and we shop and laugh and eat well.

I must say if it weren't for my parents helping financially I could not go at all!
The DP covers the extra care required to let me go away for a bit but I still need to find the money for my break - thank God for my parents!

Before I set up the Direct Payment I hadn't had a nights sleep or a break for over 20 years and I can honestly say a Carers Break is very precious.

marie x
thanks for the replies everyone. i'm genuinely touched at how open and honest everyone is.
it appears to be very clear at just how beneficial breaks can be for both the carer and the person that is being cared for, particularly in terms of getting a break from the routine of caring and being able to think about yourselves.

thanks again for the replies. it is much appreciated. it's just a shame that there isn't enough money available, (or accessible!), for all family carers to get a break!
it's just a shame that there isn't enough money available, (or accessible!), for all family carers to get a break!
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