Breaks at Home

Instead of focusing on catching up on jobs, remember to fit in some time for yourself. I'm still learning this one!

Short breaks are often easier to organise and follow through on than longer ones. A few minutes to yourself each day doing something you want to do can make a big difference to how you feel about and manage your caring role.

  • Make a plan
    What are the things that give you pleasure? What would you like to do if you had an hour to spare – or even 15 minutes? Write it down. Having a plan means you’re more likely to make some time out in your day for you. And when you do find yourself with a few minutes to spare, you’ll be more likely to put it to good use.
  • Make it regular
    Some carers say they have difficulty negotiating even short periods of time out with the person they support. This can take the shine off anticipating respite breaks and makes it difficult to plan them. A regular commitment can be easier to navigate. Make Monday your bridge night or Wednesday morning the day you meet a friend for coffee. Regular appointments will help the person you support to plan their week too!
  • Grab the moment
    Don’t feel you have to entertain someone who pops in to visit the person you support. Head out to the garden instead. Unexpected time to yourself is a gift. Take the break. Don’t spend it cleaning windows (unless, of course, you happen to like cleaning windows).
  • Check out activity programmes
    The person you support may benefit from participating in an activity programme which may also provide an opportunity for you to have a break at home. Community-based activities provide a valuable ‘change of scene’ for participants, and the chance to enjoy the company of others. Many rest homes, churches, and community groups run day care programmes for older adults. The Ministry of Health funds day services for people with high and complex needs and/or an intellectual disability.
  • Make the most of longer breaks at home
    Make a plan so you make the most of your break time. A sleep-in might be first on the agenda, or you may just want to ‘potter’. Some things might need to be organised in advance, like arranging an outing with a friend or tickets to a play or concert.