Support for carers

Breaks for carers

We support unpaid carers to take a break from their caring role and to enjoy some time for themselves. This could be to pursue social, educational or employment opportunities or just relax and have some leisure time. A break allows you to rest, recharge your batteries and cope better with your caring role.

To obtain services, you will need to have a carers' assessment which will be undertaken by social services. You can ask for a carers' assessment even if the person you care for doesn't receive any services from us. Assessments are free of charge. You will be entitled to an assessment regardless of the amount or type of care you provide, your financial means or your level of need for support. You don't necessarily have to live with the person you are looking after or be caring full-time to have an assessment. You may be juggling work and care which is having a big impact on your life.

If you and the person you are looking after agree, a combined assessment of both your needs can be undertaken at the same time.

The assessment can be done face-to-face, over the telephone or online.

After the assessment, we will decide if you are eligible to receive a carers' service and if you are, all the options available will be discussed with you.

These include:

Personal Budget

A personal budget is funding which is allocated to an individual for the help and support they need.  You can choose to take a personal budget, or part of it, as a direct cash payment, to spend on services of your choice instead of asking the council to arrange services for you.

Find out more about direct payments.

Respite Care

This is where the person you care for attends either a day centre which allows you to take a break from your caring role or where they may stay in a residential care home for a period of time allowing you a longer break. 

Carers' vouchers

Each voucher is worth one hour of care and there is an agreed allocation per month.  We can provide you with a list of approved home care agencies that will accept the vouchers. You can decide to take a short break each week or save up the vouchers and take a longer break, for example, a day per month. The vouchers are valid for three months from the date of issue. You will be able to arrange the care directly with your chosen agency and you give them the voucher(s) in exchange for the care they provide.

The agency you choose from the approved list to provide the care will arrange for someone to sit with the cared for person in their home while you take a break.

The sitting service is provided to you, the carer, to allow you to take a break. This means that if the cared for person requires any type of service themselves (such as personal care which includes moving and handling, bathing etc), the relevant health or social services agency should be contacted to provide this.

A new service will be offered from October 2017 by Age UK (link opens in new window) to enable carers over the age of 50 to have a break in exchange for a council voucher. Initially services will include:

  • sitting services (not personal care)
  • taking the cared for person for a walk, to a garden centre etc
  • help with shopping
  • gardening
  • housework

The Carers Respite Services Team at Age UK (Beds) can be contacted on 01234 360510 or by email: enquiries@ageukbedfordshire.org.uk

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