Five things carers of people living with dementia say they learned about residential respite

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Residential respite care, or a short stay in a care home, can benefit some older people living with dementia and their carers. It offers both a break and is seen as a way of supporting people living with dementia to stay at home for longer, potentially delaying a long-term move to a care home. However, little is known about residential respite services, especially their availability, access, components and cost. As part of a 2-year study funded by Alzheimer’s Society, we conducted qualitative interviews over telephone and video-call with family carers of people living with dementia in different parts of England, between March 2020 – January 2021. After relevant ethical approvals had been received, we asked 15 carers about their views, experiences, and expectations of residential respite. Through a rigorous transparent process of thematic data analysis, five themes relating to things learnt about residential respite were identified, covering what carers who had experienced residential respite reflected on retrospectively. These included: (1) the spectrum of emotional and intellectual reactions to decision experienced, (2) determining how a person living with dementia experiences respite from the carer’s point of view, (3) differing expectations of a break, (4) processes of ‘trial and error’ in finding respite that ‘fits’ and (5) variable outcomes of respite including impact on longer-term care decisions. Findings will be discussed in the context of practice and policy implications.
Period7 Jul 2022
Event titleBritish Society of Gerontology Annual Conference 2022
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • respite
  • dementia
  • older people
  • residential care
  • care home