Public resilience, an important determinant of effective disaster management, is dynamic, and families coping with debilitating illnesses, such as stroke or dementia, experience unique vulnerabilities as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. When social networks cannot sustain care, family caregivers turn to formal respite programmes for support. This has tremendous implications on demands for respite services in any disaster response. With an ageing population, the demands for family caregiving are increasing, and more people face the challenges of balancing work and family responsibilities. This includes members of the response community who have family members who need assistance with daily living. Without support, many responders may struggle to fulfil their professional roles, creating a threat to response capacity. Preparedness interventions should focus on building resilience and encourage families to explore possibilities for respite care as well as other standard strategies to ensure self-sufficiency in the early phases of a disaster.