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Short breaks from caring

Short breaks from caring

Looking after someone can be difficult, but there are a number of options that may be available to you to access a short break from your caring role.

It’s important you find time for yourself, your family and your friends. It can be challenging to look after someone if you don’t take time out.

Personalised, flexible short breaks can make a real difference for carers to recharge their batteries helping sustain caring relationships and enabling carers to have more of a life of their own.

Types of short break

Respite care has changed. It no longer has to mean a bed in a care home for the person you look after. It can take many forms and be used for many things, like shopping, seeing your friends or enjoying a hobby. It’s your choice.

Short breaks can include time to:

  • experience new things
  • maintain friendships
  • rest and recharge your batteries
  • enjoy personal interests, leisure or cultural activities

A break can be:

  • a holiday
  • a regular hour to yourself
  • a one-off occasion to recharge your batteries
  • daytime or overnight respite

Breaks can be taken together with the person you care for, with extra help, or they can be taken apart. It’s up to you.

Short breaks under the Carers (Scotland) Act

When you get an adult carer support plan or young carer statement under the Carers Act, your local authority must consider whether any support to be provided to you should include a break from caring.

For more information on your rights under the Carers Act, see Support for Carers

Voluntary sector short breaks for carers

Alongside support from the local council’s social care department, carers may be able to access a break through the Short Breaks Fund. This fund is administered by Shared Care Scotland and the Family Fund and supports a range of unpaid carers across Scotland, caring for people of differing ages and care needs. Carers looking for short break options in their area can use Shared Care Scotland’s short breaks directory to find something that suits them.

The Time to Live fund enables local carer organisations to develop and deliver micro grant schemes for carers of adults and young carers. Time to Live enables carers to access funds and support to help them take short breaks that meet their needs.

The Take a Break fund provides direct grants to families of children and young people with disabilities to support personalised leisure activities or holiday breaks.


Respitality (respite+hospitality) encourages carers centres to build relationships with local businesses, such as hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and other leisure providers, resulting in the donation of a range of gifts, breaks and experiences to unpaid carers in the area free of charge.

Young Scot card

Young carers aged 11-18 can access extra discounts and opportunities through their Young Scot card. To sign up for access to this, visit Young Scot’s website.

Further information

For more detailed information on planning short breaks, contact Shared Care Scotland direct on 01383 622462 or visit their website.

Or contact your local carers centre for help.

See Shared Care Scotland’s Directory of Services of short break and respite services, and their Short Breaks Fund overview.

Shared Care Scotland also have a Short Break Planner.

Visit Turn2us, a free service that helps people access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help.

The information was last updated on: 11th February 2022


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Find my council

You can contact your local council's social care department for a free assessment. Find their details here.

You can contact your local council's social care department for a free assessment. Find their details here.