Respite care

Respite services can strengthen a family's ability to care for a family member with a disability and stay together, as a family.

From a carer's perspective, respite might mean:

  • a night's uninterrupted sleep once a week
  • a weekend break at planned intervals during the year
  • a couple of hours during the day to ‘do your own thing'.

Respite may be centre-based, providing a person with disability with daily supports and community activities, or home-based.

If you are the carer of a person who is eligible for specialist disability services, you may be able to access respite support through your local service centre.

Other funded respite services

Non-funded respite suggestions

Demand for respite outweighs availability, so it pays to ‘think outside the square'. Parents of children with disability and community workers supporting families share these ideas:

  • Be prepared to ask extended family, neighbours and friends to help spread the caring around. Asking can be the biggest and hardest step.
  • Investigate vacation care at your school.
  • Nannies-in-training need practical experience. Some nanny schools look for families with ‘special circumstances' such as a child with a disability to place a student for the prac days over a number of months. No money changes hands—this is a learning experience for a student but can give a parent some valuable extra support.
  • Investigate holiday camps. Some are organised and funded specifically for children with disabilities.