A 'foster' scheme where families will be paid to take elderly people into their homes and care for them is to be tried out in Sutherland.
Families will be paid to care for elderly people in their homes
Highland Council's social work committee has agreed to trial the respite project in Assynt.
Families will be paid between £250 and £400 a week depending on the level of care provided.
However, Sutherland councillor Francis Keith has condemned what he described as a "grab a granny" scheme.
Social work committee chairwoman Margaret Davidson said the idea was to help elderly people stay in their home area rather than have to move to one of three care homes further away.
She said: "The home-from-home service is where we will be recruiting carers who will take elderly people into their homes for respite.
"We need to try it in north west Sutherland and we need to get the message out to people that they will be supported.
"We will be looking at £250 to £400 depending on the level of care they are giving."
She added: "The whole idea about freeing up this money is to help keep people at home."
Sutherland councillor Francis Keith criticised the plan to pay families in his area to take in elderly people for temporary respite care.
He said it would be preferable to continue providing respite care at the Assynt Centre.
Mr Keith said: "Respite is definitely the first priority.
Highland Council is to trial the scheme in Assynt
"Having residential beds is very desirable but respite gives long-term carers an opportunity to get a break.
"My preference would be that it is retained in the Assynt Centre as it always has been rather than go out to a grab a granny scheme, or whatever one would call it.
"Nobody wants to go into a home unless they really have to, but there comes a time in some people's lives when they cannot be looked after by their family."