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Community Respite

Short-term respite care

Take a break

At Southern Cross Care we understand that sometimes carers and their loved ones need a break. Our Community Respite services support you to take a break, with quality short-term day and overnight care options. Our respite care is tailored to each individual, so our clients benefit from meaningful and engaging activities, while their carers have some time to look after their own well-being.

What is respite?

Southern Cross Care offers a range of Community Respite options that provide high-quality short-term care to clients, aged 65+ or with a diagnosis of younger onset dementia, while giving carers peace of mind and a period of rest to focus on their own health and well-being. 

Our services are available at various locations where we provide day and overnight respite, while our Buddy Respite Program supports clients with respite in their own homes and the local community. Our compassionate team offers quality care that caters for each client’s individual needs, including those living with dementia.


Meaningful engagement


Our Community Respite services engage clients physically, mentally and socially to improve their overall well-being and help them live at home for longer. Our experienced staff work with clients to achieve goals, build social connections, re-engage with the community and rebuild skills. We have a philosophy of ‘doing with, rather than doing for’ and participate with clients in many meaningful activities that offer a sense of purpose and fun. These activities include:

Caring for the Carer

A special program for carers of clients attending The Pines Respite Cottage is available to directly impact your health and well-being. The Caring for the Carer program is free and includes six weeks of intensive allied health support, health education, exercise classes and help to learn how to self-manage your health. Our health professionals will work with you to develop a set of individual goals you can work towards and a tailored weekly schedule to help you achieve those goals. Our team can also help you to connect with other programs, services and organisations in your local community to support your ongoing physical, mental and social well-being so you are better equipped to care for your loved one.

Read more

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Buddy Respite Program

The Buddy Respite Program offers one-on-one respite care for clients in their own home and local community. Our passionate Buddy Workers support clients to engage in activities that are tailored to them, including visiting galleries, getting back in the garden, taking up a new hobby or visiting a favourite cafe or restaurant. Our Buddy Respite Program enables clients to be themselves, do the things they love, and re-engage in things they used to love.

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Our Community Respite locations

What do we offer?

  • WEB ICONS 22_HW Ton of Excitement

     Physical Activities

  • Mental Blue Dot

    Mental Exercise 


  • Social Blue Dot

    Social Well-being




Southern Cross Care’s Community Respite is an award winning program of innovative service delivery.

Traditional respite models deliver simple activities with a large amount of down time. In this model clients rarely engage in activities of daily living that support their day-to-day life at home.

However, our health-focused model flips traditional respite options on its head. We offer daily exercise, weekly outings, social participation and activities of daily living such as cooking meals together. The Southern Cross Care community respite model has significant client and carer benefits. It was recognised with an Aged Care Service Australia Innovation Award (SA) in 2018. 

Our cottages provide clients with a sense of purpose regardless of changing cognitive and/or physical health. We often welcome clients with dementia or physical needs, such as those with neuromuscular disorders.

Community Respite offers day (centre-based) respite, overnight cottage respite, and flexible one on one respite services.

The cost of respite care is different depending on what type of funding you have. It also depends on the type of community respite you want to access. In most cases, Commonwealth Home Support Programme or Home Care Package funding will cover a majority of the cost. You may need to pay a small client contribution per day or night, which is slightly higher on weekends.

Ask our team for more specific costs that apply to your situation by calling 1800 852 722.

To use the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) funding you will need to undertake a RAS/ACAT assessment through My Aged Care. At the assessment you will need to request either a ‘Day centre based respite’ or ‘Cottage overnight respite’ or ‘Flexible respite’ referral code. 

If you are receiving a home care package- even if your home care package is with another aged care provider, these funds can be used to fund community respite services. Or alternatively there is the option to pay privately. Our capable staff are able to assist you in finding the right funding avenue for you. 


If you are eligible you can access a range of funding support options to help pay for respite. These include Home Care Packages, the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and Short-Term Restorative Care. You also have the option to pay privately for services.

Unlike residential respite, there is no limit on the number of respite days or nights per year.

However, to keep our respite services accessible to the community we may limit attendance to 3 days per week in our respite cottages and 10 hours per week in the Buddy Program.

If you require further support please speak to our Occupational Therapist who can provide you with some options. 


Day respite is centre-based respite that is available during the day for up to a few days a week.

Overnight respite is cottage-based, where clients can stay for to two or three days to give family members and carers a longer break.

Flexible respite (Buddy Respite Program) involves paid carers and clients ‘creating their own adventure’ during each session. Clients are supported to engage in meaningful activities through one-on-one support. Each session is for three to five hours.

Activities can be in the home or out and about in the community. The activities focus on improving each client’s physical, social and mental well-being and connection to the community. Buddy respite time also gives the client’s carer an important break from their caring role.

Yes it can! Commonwealth funded Home Care Packages provide a subsidy for eligible clients that can be used for care services.

The funding is available to keep clients living in the community, and for the case management of the package. The four levels of home care packages each provide a different subsidy amount. The subsidy contributes to the total cost of service and care delivery.

No. However, in the respite cottages a high percentage of clients who attend are living with cognitive decline or a musculoskeletal condition. 

If you are feeling socially isolated, can no longer drive, need or prefer 1:1 support, and live too far from our respite cottages then the Buddy Program might be a great option for you!  

To find out more about the eligibility criteria our Occupational Therapist can talk to you to make sure our community respite service is the right option to meet your needs.


In a group environment, under an occupational therapist's guidance, our trained staff will find creative, fun and meaningful ways to keep clients engaged in physically, mentally and socially stimulating activities.

To name just a few; a daily resistance and weight-bearing exercise program facilitated by an exercise professional, weekly out-and-about bus trips on the broader community, brain training activities, music therapy and opportunities to participate in daily living skill activities such as cooking and gardening.

Each visit includes nutritious meals cooked onsite and assistance with personal care tasks if required. Transport to and from Myrtle Cottage can be arranged. 


Our high-quality Community Respite uses a health and well-being-focused model of care. It is driven by the idea that we “do with our clients, rather doing for clients”. This gives our clients the best chance of maintaining their independence, self-esteem and sense of purpose.

During each session, clients engage in physically, socially and mentally stimulating activities. These include day-to-day activities, such as cooking and gardening, learning new skills, and social outings. Community respite activities help people to live at home for longer. For more information visit our activities pages.