Respite Care and Carer Support - Catalyst Foundation

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Respite Care and Carer Support

Respite care

Respite care for carers and those they care for is available in various settings.

Residential Respite

For people who need the support of care staff or high level care, respite in an aged care facility is an appropriate option. The minimum time per stay is generally two weeks with a maximum of 63 days available during a calendar year. The cost of respite care is the same as the daily care fee in aged care facilities with remaining fees subsidised by the Australian government. An approval for respite issued by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) is required to use residential respite care.

Some aged care facilities have a respite room that can be pre-booked for particular dates. This option is often used by carers for regular planned breaks during the year. Contact the Catalyst Foundation to find out which facilities have this service.

Other aged care facilities may consider offering respite if they have a room available at the time of the need for respite.

For respite vacancies in aged care please click here

Community Respite

Community respite is available in three forms:

  • Cottage respite is in a home like setting and is available during the day with some providers offering overnight or weekend respite as well.
  • Centre based respite is available during the day only; most commonly in a community centre, day centre or residential aged care.
  • Flexible respite is available in the home or the community for the usual carer to take a break for a few hours. 

These services are available at a subsidised cost through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.  Eligibility for these services is through My Aged Care 1800 200 422.

Emergency respite

Sometimes carers have an urgent or unplanned event that prevents them providing care. Contact the Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 for help with finding respite options available in this situation.

Catalyst Foundation (including Seniors Information Service)

Catalyst Foundation has information about respite options other than those detailed than those above. Please contact us on 8168 8776 to find out what else is available in South Australia.

See our fact sheet Respite Care

Carer support

Carers are usually family members who provide unpaid support to children or adults who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition or who are frail aged. Carers can be parents, partners, brothers, sisters, friends, supporters or children. Some carers are eligible for government income support while others are employed or have a private income.

Caring is a rewarding experience, but it can also be very demanding. Sometimes carers also need help and support. Each care situation is unique. Some carers need to assist with tasks of daily living and provide support feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring or administering medications. Others care for people who are fairly independent but need specific support with their finances and transport. Carers also provide emotional support day in and day out for some of the most vulnerable, isolated members of our community.

In addition to the respite options listed above other support such as advice, counselling and financial assistance are available for unpaid carers.

The Carer Gateway is an Australian Government initiative which includes a help line available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm local time (1800 422 737) and a website (https://www.carergateway.gov.au) providing a range of information which assists carers to navigate these support options.

Carers SA, along with its partners Dementia Australia, Skylight, Life Without Barriers and NPY Women’s Council, provide Carer Gateway services to carers in South Australia.

These services help carers to manage their daily challenges, reduce stress and plan for the future. The program focuses on providing carers with access to early-intervention, preventative and skill building supports, to improve well-being and long-term outcomes.

Centrelink Benefits for Carers

Carer Allowance is a supplementary payment that may be available to people who give additional daily care to someone with a disability, medical condition, or an adult who is frail aged.


Carer Payment is an income support payment for carers who are unable to support themselves through substantial paid employment as a consequence of caring for someone on a daily basis who has a severe disability or illness or is frail aged.

An annual Carer Supplement is also paid to carers receiving the benefits above.

Eligibility criteria for these carer benefits and further information are available from the website of Services Australia (which includes Centrelink) under Caring for someone. To make an appointment or to speak to a Services Australia ‘s staff tel. 13 27 17.

Concessions for carers

Public transport and access to events

People with permanent and severe disabilities can apply for a card that enables a carer to accompany them when they use public transport. There are two different types of companion card

  • Companion Card – When a cardholder buys a ticket for themselves at selected venues and facilities around South Australia, this card entitles the  companion to free entry to the same event. This includes travel on public transport in metropolitan Adelaide.
  • Plus One FREE COMPANION card  – With this card people who have severe and permanent impairments which limit their ability to use public transport independently can be accompanied by a carer who travels free of charge on all Adelaide Metro bus, train and tram services.

Further information and applications forms are available at the South Australian Government website. The relevant sections can be accessed by following the links provided above. For the the PlusOne Free COMPANION card you can also contact the South Australia Transport Subsidy Scheme’s processing centre, tel. 1300 360 840.

Catalyst Foundation can assist with sourcing the relevant forms and with completing applications if required.

Qantas travel concession

A person is eligible for reduced fares on domestic flights if they need one-on-one support when seated on the plane for assistance with meals/drinks, transferring to the bathroom, orientation, communicating with the flight staff etc. The person needing assistance and their nominated carer will receive discounts for Qantas travel within Australia. Other specific eligibility criteria apply. Follow this link for further details.

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