The pros and cons of residential respite care for seniors

Jun 13, 2023 | RESPITE CARE

Residential respite care – a temporary stay in an aged care facility – has many benefits for both you and the person caring for you.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of residential respite care, and how you can make a short stay in a nursing home a positive experience for you and your loved ones.

Aging Care Reviews

The benefits of residential respite care

Residential respite care offers plenty of positives:


Both you and your regular carer can have a break

Long-term care arrangements between loved ones can be rewarding, but also physically and emotionally demanding.

Carers can become overwhelmed and exhausted, despite their happiness to help, and those being cared for can feel crowded, frustrated about loss of independence, and just plain tired of having to rely on loved ones for help with daily tasks.

Respite care in a residential aged care facility gives everyone a break. Both you, and your carer can step away from daily routines, rechanrge, and relax.

Experts say that a short period of respite can have a positive effect on long-term relationships – resulting in better care and more harmonious ongoing care arrangements.

Organising respite care in advance can give you both something to look forward to:

The benefits of planning respite care services in advance (


You can enjoy a new experience.

Routine care arrangements can make your world seem smaller, especially if you’re enjoying fewer trips outside the house and fewer social interactions.

A short stay in residential respite care offers a different environment to enjoy, with plenty of new people to meet. It presents a change of scenery, and the opportunity to join group activities, try new things and start new friendships.

Your experience in residential respite care can leave you feeling energised, satisfied, and positive about returning home. Think of it as an adventure!


You can ‘try before you buy’.

Choosing a permanent residential aged care facility is a big decision. How do you know if you’ll like it? A short-term respite stay gives you the opportunity to experience a nursing home environment first-hand.

You will receive the exact same care that permanent residents receive and having a ‘trial stay’ lets you know what questions to ask, and what positives and negatives to look for if, and when, you decide a permanent move to an aged care facility might be right for you.

Many people qualify for 63 days of government-funded care each year. You could enjoy respite stays at different aged care facilities throughout the year and build a shortlist of facilities you prefer in the process.


You’ll have access to 24/7 professional care.

Residential respite care gives you access to quality, professional care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can enjoy your stay, while being well looked after, and your regular carer can feel confident that you are receiving appropriate care – so they can enjoy their break too!

Here’s more information about what you can expect in an aged care facility:

What do aged care homes provide? – Aged Care Decisions

Aged Care Decisions helps thousands of Australian families to navigate aged care. Our FREE service can match you or your loved one with residential respite care vacancies.

Connect with us here to find out more.


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What are the cons of residential respite care?

Despite the many benefits of residential respite care, it’s important to be aware of some downsides, and how to mitigate some of the associated risks:

It is short term only

Respite care offers a short-term placement with no guarantee that you’ll secure a permanent room. The only way to secure a placement in a residential aged care facility is through a permanent application.


Extras can cost extra

Despite receiving the same standard of care as permanent residents, respite care visitors do not qualify for many extras. If you receive allied health services, like occupational therapy and physiotherapy, you will need to pay for these as an extra cost during your residential respite care stay.

You may decide to shuffle allied health appointments or book residential respite care between appointments to avoid these extra costs.


You cannot hold your room

If you become ill during your respite care stay and need hospitalisation, the nursing home will not hold your placement if another client needs it. This means you may need to find another place to stay before you can be released from hospital. This can be especially problematic if your loved one is overseas or interstate during the break.

However unlikely a hospital stay is, it is a good idea to arrange back-up care during your respite. That way, if you do end up going to hospital and losing your respite placement, you already have somewhere to go once you leave the hospital. This might be another family member or friend who is happy to provide care in an emergency, short-term situation.


It can be costly if you don’t qualify for subsidies

Non-refundable Daily Accommodation Payments can be quite high if you do not quality for government subsidies.

Here’s more information about eligibility and the costs associated with respite care:

How can I get subsidised respite care? – Aged Care Decisions

My Aged Care have more resources about respite care that you can access here:


How to find respite care vacancies to suit your needs

This is where Aged Care Decisions can help. We assist thousands of Australian families in finding appropriate aged care vacancies and providers.

Our custom-built software together with our Placement Specialists can match your location, budget, care needs and personal preferences with providers that suit your specific needs.

Our service is 100% FREE, 100% independent, and 100% personal.

We do the running around for you, with less stress and hassle, and at ZERO cost to you.

Contact us here to get started.


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