When Helen Pike* of Canberra was preparing for her hip replacement, she knew exactly where she would receive the care she needed.

For six weeks, she stayed at The Salvation Army Aged Care's dedicated respite care centre in the ACT to recover from her operation. And it wasn't the first time the 72-year-old had received care from Burrangiri Aged Care Respite Centre.

"I'd stayed there before years ago when I was recovering from a broken wrist, so I knew it was good," she said.

So there was no hesitation in returning to the respite centre, knowing it was the best place

to recover from her recent

hip operation.

"It's painful recovering because you can't bend over and you're not able to get in and out of bed. You need assistance in the shower and with all meals,"

she said.

"But knowing that there's assistance at the end of the buzzer gives that peace of mind that I will be well looked after."

Respite care offers extra short-term support to help lighten the load for both the carer and the person being cared for. This can include cases where a carer is unavailable for a period of time, short-term accommodation while permanent residential care options are being finalised or post-hospitalisation care.

For Margaret Dawson*, the first time she experienced the benefits of respite care was shortly after she underwent surgery for a shoulder reconstruction.

The prime carer, her daughter who lives on the Gold Coast, was unable to travel to Canberra to provide care for her over this particular time. So 80-year-old

Margaret decided to stay at Burrangiri Aged Care Respite Centre for four weeks, which she later described as a "God-send".

"They were so caring and they were so wonderful there," she said.

"It was just a God-send for me. To go there where it was lovely and warm. I had someone to shower me and the food was cooked for me. And I had company. That was a big thing for me."

But Helen Pike says there is a growing demand for respite care.

"At respite, it has been very useful but there's desperately going to need more of these types of places for people who live alone or in their own home," she said.

"As they get old, the wives or the husbands really haven't got the energy to look after each other. They need to be relatively young to do it so you need your kids. But the kids are working and they've got to pay the mortgage, and they've got their own families to look after."

If you think you need respite care, you can talk to the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 during business hours. For emergency respite support outside standard business hours, call 1800 059 059.

If you would like to book respite services with one of our Aged Care Centres nationwide, or with our dedicated Respite Centre in Canberra, call us on 1300 111 227 or email agedcare.enquiries@salvationarmy.org.au.

*Not pictured