Why is taking a break is important?

Caring can make you physically exhausted, for example because:

  • You get up several times over the night
  • You lift and support an adult heavier than you
  • You look after your family and have a job at the same time

It can distress you psychologically too. Seeing someone you care experiencing pain or discomfort can affect you as well.

Don’t underestimate what you are doing, because caring can lead to:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Other mental health issues.
  • Destabilise relationships

Take a break periodically

If you’re a full-time carer or spend a lot of time caring for someone, it's important to make time for yourself, too – both for the sake of your own health and wellbeing and to give you the energy to carry on caring. Having a break doesn’t mean you are letting down the person you care for. It's sensible to have time to rest, catch up with friends and pursue your own interests. All carers need the time and space to pursue opportunities and to attend activities and events: they also need practical and mental support.

Short breaks for disabled children and young people and their carers

Short breaks provide opportunities for disabled children and young people to have enjoyable social experiences as well as providing a valuable break for their parents or carers. 
Short breaks can enhance social development and reduce social isolation. Short breaks include day, evening, overnight or weekend activities and take place in the child's own home, the home of a carer, a residential or community setting. Find out more and how to apply.

Respite care 

Respite care is the term used for replacement services which enable you to take a break from caring.

This can include a range of things, such as: 

  • Employing someone to sit with the person you care for
  • Cook for them
  • Take them to a day centre
  • Or arranging temporary residential care.

The short break service is an assessed service available to carers and families of adults who through age, disability or illness are unable to manage on their own. Care can include

  • Short stays in a care home or a care home with nursing support.
  • Short stay placement in a community based short break service
  • Additional home care support visits being put into place

Who is this service for

  • Adults, aged 18 or over and living in the London Borough of Bromley, who
  • Meet our eligibility criteria for access to services
  • Have a disability or long-term illness and need a planned break for themselves and their carers.

The service aims to: 

  • Allow individuals to maintain their independence and to remain in their own home for as long as possible 
  • Allow individuals and their carers to maintain physical and emotional well-being by reducing unnecessary stress and strain 
  • Reduce the need for admission to hospital or long term care 

Arranging respite care

Breaks are arranged in advance as part of the individuals or carers support plan, are based on an assessment of need, planned so that individuals are placed with people of a similar age group, and are accessed through liaison with the individuals care manager. The service is not used to manage emergency placements where normal care arrangements have broken down.Short breaks can be arranged directly rather than through social care, a range of services are available through voluntary organisations and private providers. 


The costs for a short break are assessed against the individual's ability to pay through a financial assessment.

Getting alternative care so you can take a break

There are different options for getting support for the person you are looking after while you go away, including:

Finding care yourself

You may wish to make your own private arrangements such as:

  • Employing a paid care worker to care for the person you are looking after in their own home
  • Paying for short-term residential care
  • Arranging a holiday for the person you are looking after
  • There are a range of organisations which provide information and/or services which will help you to make private arrangements.