How Much Does Respite Care Cost?

The cost of respite care

Respite care is such an important resource for carers looking after older loved ones, but it can be difficult to know where to begin when arranging and paying for this type of replacement care. 

Often the wealth of information on respite care, the funding options available and the potential costs can be overwhelming, so we are looking at how to choose a respite care service for an older person, what is covered by respite care, the approximate cost of each type of respite service (and the ones that cost more than others), plus how to arrange respite care with Home Instead. 

At Home Instead, our aim is to help people age positively and in place by bringing expert care to their home. For nearly 20 years, we have been providing the highest standard of care, and creating industry-leading training programmes for our Care Professionals that are accredited by nursing and medical professionals. Today, we are the world’s largest global home care network, supporting over 100,000 seniors with personalised, tailored care at home. So whatever questions you have about arranging respite care, we can help.

how much does respite care cost

Why is respite care important? 

Respite care is important for family caregivers of older adults who spend time each week looking after and attending to the needs of their loved one. Many people have been helping a family member for a while, but have not yet considered themselves a carer. Some of our other guides could be helpful to better understand the care process, why respite care is important, how it works, and the benefits it can offer to you and your loved one: 

How do I choose a respite care service? 

There are several types of respite care services that could be helpful depending on your situation and the type of cover you need. Financial considerations are important when researching this, as choosing the best respite care service for you may depend on the cost of each service and the funding available. You may be eligible for respite care via:

  • Your local council
  • The National Health Service 
  • Charities or grants
  • Your own funds  

Each of these services may provide funding for either home care, a temporary stay in a care home, a sitting service, an adult day care centre, or a respite holiday. You will find more on each of these options below. 

If you would like to know more about respite care funded by any of the above entities, you will find helpful information in our guide: Who Pays For Respite Care? Or, if you are planning to self-fund respite care, you may be interested in knowing more about what the costs are for each service.

What does each type of respite care service cost?

According to the NHS, respite care could cost on average between £700 to £800 a week, however this general figure could be drastically different for you depending on your financial situation, the type of service you intend to use, the length of time you plan to use the service for, and other factors. 

Here are the different types of respite care services available, and the associated costs:

Home respite care from a paid carer 

You are probably familiar with the concept of domiciliary care if you are caring for a loved one in their own home, and you may have already gone through a Care Needs Assessment to arrange this. Home care can be implemented for those who need it, and respite care works in a similar way in order to cover the duties of a regular caregiver. 

This could be respite cover for one day a week to allow the regular carer to attend work, sort out other life responsibilities, or even just have a day off to recuperate. It could also be arranged to cover a holiday period, such as a week or a fortnight. 

Depending on where in the UK you live, the average hourly cost of this type of home respite care service could be: 

UK Region Weekday Avg. Cost Weekend/Evening Avg. Cost
Greater London £31.28£32.82
East of London£29.88£29.88
East of England£32.86£34.51
North East £31.17£32.00
North West £30.25£30.97
South East £33.52£35.22
South West £32.97£34.35
Yorkshire and The Humber £31.52£33.17
West Midlands £31.36£32.67
East Midlands£31.58£34.58
Wales £32.36£33.86
Northern Ireland £30.33£32.50

*Average costs correct as of November 2023

The above table shows the average cost of care, but keep in mind the final cost you pay will depend on the number of hours of respite care you need, how often, and what kind of care this is. 

At Home Instead, our respite care options are flexible and bespoke to you, and we always maintain a transparent dialogue with you and your loved one so you never end up with unexpected or hidden costs if your respite needs change throughout the process. 

If the person you care for needs 24-hour supervision, you may need to arrange live-in respite care, with one carer to manage daytime care and another to manage overnight needs. This could be on average £1,500 per week, depending on the provider you use. You can read more about this type of respite care in our article:The Role Of Live-in Respite Care

“My life has changed dramatically since having my live-in care professional Mimi. I no longer feel anxious about being alone or falling as I have the reassurance that someone is always at home with me.”

Home Instead client Thomas Hopkins (“Mr Tom”) 

A temporary stay in a care home

If respite care is arranged far enough in advance, a short stay in a care home or nursing home can be arranged to allow carers to take a full break safe in the knowledge that their loved one is being looked after 24/7 in a facility with trained staff. This type of respite care can be useful if, for example, you are booking a holiday and want to ensure your relative is safe at all times while you are away. 

According to Age UK, a place in a care or nursing home can cost on average between £800 and £1,078 per week depending on your location, however for short term respite stays this could be as high as £1,500 per week. 

If your loved one would prefer to stay at home, or you do not feel they need 24/7 monitoring, sometimes live-in care can be a more affordable option than a stay in a care home. 

An adult day care centre

Adult day care centres are daytime respite services that take place at a specific location, and you will usually find one in your local area. Your loved one can either be dropped off here for the day, or you can arrange for transport to pick them up. 

These centres offer a chance for older people who find it difficult to get out and about to socialise with others in their community and take part in fun and stimulating activities. They also enable the carer to have a day off from their duties while their loved one is looked after by trained professionals at the day care centre. 

Adult day care centres can be funded by your local council or other sources, however if you are funding these yourself the average cost of this service is around £20 per day. These costs will vary depending on your location, whether or not your loved one needs transport, and whether or not they require any specialist care while visiting. 

Respite holidays

Sometimes instead of regular carer’s breaks, one longer period of respite is needed. This could be to recharge your batteries, to address mental health concerns, or to take a much-needed holiday. 

In these cases, respite holidays enable carers and older adults to take a break from everyday life. You will find a number of charities offering services like this, such as Carers Trust, Turn2Us, Revitalise Support Fund, The Florence Nightingale Aid in Sickness Trust, The Respite Association, The League of the Helping Hand, The Victoria Convalescent Trust and more. You can find more information about these charities and how they can help in our article: Who Pays For Respite Care?

Sitting services

Many charities offer sitting services or befriending services, and these are usually carried out by trained volunteers. However, you can also pay for a similar service through a home care agency who will typically charge a similar rate to their hourly home care services. You can find the average hourly prices for these above. 

Home Instead offers a companionship service which could provide similar benefits to that of sitting services offered by charities. 

What is included in respite care? 

What respite care involves depends on your needs, the resources available (if you are funding this through a charity, for example), and what you have agreed with a service ahead of time. Remember, respite care is designed to benefit both the person requiring care, and the regular carer who is in need of a break. 

This type of care can be arranged to cover the needs of anyone with a disability, a chronic illness, an age-related condition, anyone going through end-of-life or palliative care, a person with dementia or another cognitive impairment, or anyone else who may need this. 

Respite care is very similar to other types of care provided at home, including companionship or complex care as needed, so it can bring together a range of services tailored to cover the diverse needs of each individual. The aim is to achieve continuity of care so nothing changes for the person while their carer is absent. Respite care might include things like: 

  • Personal care (such as getting washed and dressed every day)
  • Supporting the individual to maintain daily activities they enjoy 
  • Managing medication schedules or other health needs 
  • Housework and home management 
  • Creating mentally stimulating activities
  • Companionship to maintain social interaction 
  • Mobility support to ensure the person is moving around their home safely
  • Transporting the individual to social activities and other appointments

Respite care will look different for each person depending on their Care Plan and how long the carer will be on a break for. Some examples of what respite care might look like include:

  • Covering care several nights a week to allow the regular carer to enjoy a full night of uninterrupted sleep 
  • Popping in to make the client’s dinner each night so their regular carer can attend to matters at home or put young children to bed
  • Providing care for one week several times a year so the regular carer can enjoy a family holiday or simply take time off to recharge 

“From day one Home Instead has given us a first-class professional caring service. Office staff and carers very helpful and understanding.” 

– Paul and Sandra, Home Instead Clients

Are there any types of respite care that cost more?

Respite care is largely dependent on each individual’s situation, so it can help to be aware of the types of respite care that could cost more than the examples mentioned above. When figuring out how much respite care may cost for you, you should consider factors like:

  • The level of care required – Does your loved one need specialist medical care? 
  • The type of respite care you need – Will your loved one require at-home respite care, a stay in a care home, a sitting service, an adult day care centre, or something else?
  • The length of care – How long will you be taking a break for? Or will this be an ongoing arrangement?
  • The location of respite care – Care costs in the UK differ depending on your region, so consider where you will be requiring respite care.
  • Additional services needed – Does your loved one require anything extra, such as recreational activities, therapy, transport or something else?
  • The quality of your care provider – Home care agencies differ in price based on the quality of care they provide, so you should consider what agency is best for you.
how much does respite care cost

A few types of respite care that tend to cost more than others include:

Live-in respite care

As mentioned above, it can be difficult to predict how much live-in respite care will cost without knowing the variables affecting the cost, such as your loved one’s needs, how many live-in carers will be on rotation in the home, whether or not there is specialist medical care involved, the location of the client’s home, and more. 

It is always best to contact an agency who provides live-in carers to discuss your needs for a more accurate cost, but as a rough guide, live-in care through an agency often ranges from around £1,350 to £2,000 per week, depending on the factors mentioned. You can read more in our guide: How Much Does A Live-In Carer Cost?

Emergency respite care

Sometimes respite care is needed on very short notice, which can make the cost higher than the typical rates. If you are unable to get another relative to step in in the case of an emergency, then emergency respite care could be higher than the costs mentioned above due to the last-minute nature of the arrangement. For this reason, it can help to consider what you would do if you are suddenly unable to care for your loved one. 

Dementia respite care

If your loved one lives with dementia or another cognitive condition, sometimes specialist dementia respite care will be required to ensure they are properly taken care of. More support is often needed for those with dementia when their care involves medication and an understanding of their cognitive abilities, in order to avoid disrupting their regular routine. 

Dementia respite care can be more difficult to arrange if the person requiring care becomes anxious and upset at the thought of change, or feels scared of the new face in their home during the respite period. For these reasons, dementia carers are knowledgeable in the different stages of dementia and trained to handle behaviours like agitation, wandering and confusion, which are common in people with dementia. You can read more in our guide: Considerations For Dementia Respite Care

“This is a company whose staff really do care on a personal level and who are client orientated, providing stimulative activities, conversation and going the extra mile to help client and family.” 

– Eileen, Home Instead Client 

How do I arrange respite care with Home Instead? 

At Home Instead, we understand how vital respite care can be for carers who need a break from daily duties, which is why we offer high quality respite care to put your mind at ease so you can spend time away from your older loved one without worrying about their care. 

You can find out more about our home respite care here. 

Our flexible respite care options can be adapted to suit your exact needs, and our Care Professionals are highly trained to deliver the individualised service that will allow you to take much-needed time away to recharge.

Whether you are organising emergency respite care or you want to understand your options for future respite care, simply reach out to our friendly Home Instead team to learn more about how we can help you and your older loved one. 

Home Instead is an award-winning home care provider and part of a worldwide organisation devoted to providing the highest-quality relationship-led care for older people in their own homes. Arranging care for yourself or your loved one shouldn’t be stressful, so whatever questions you would like answered, feel free to reach out to the Home Instead team to discuss your needs.