Respite care in Northern Ireland

Find out what respite care is, the different types that are available, how to pay for it and how to get the most out of it. 

What is respite care? 

Respite care is temporary care that means the person’s main carer can have a break from caring. Respite care can be arranged for a short time, for example while you go to the shops or meet friends. It can also be arranged for a longer time, for example if you want to have a break for a few days, or spend some time away. 

Respite care can be a good way for you to take a break from your caring role. Having some time off can improve your physical and mental wellbeing, and be good for your relationship with the person you care for.

It can also be a good way for a person with dementia to enjoy different hobbies and interests and maintain or develop relationships with others. This can improve their wellbeing, as it can help them remain involved and active. 

The right type of respite care for the person with dementia will depend both on their needs and yours.

Respite care can include: 

  • care at home 
  • day centres 
  • holidays or short breaks 
  • a short stay in a care home 
  • the ‘Shared Lives’ scheme 
  • help from friends or family 
  • spending some time away together. 

Speak to a professional such as a social worker about the different care options available. You may be able to choose more than one type of care, depending on what is available in your area. 

For example, if you want to attend a class for a couple of hours a week you might choose to have care at home, or a day centre. If either you or the person with dementia needs a longer break, a short stay in a care home might be more suitable. 

For information on the different ways you can access respite care see How is respite care arranged?

Living in England or Wales?

This information is for people living in Northern Ireland and does not cover England and Wales, where the systems are different. See our information on respite care in these countries:

England Wales
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