There are multiple types of dementia care and they can be provided in a variety of different settings.

The type and setting of dementia care depend on the stage and severity of the dementia and the wishes of the person living with dementia.

Dementia care homes

There are two main types of care homes – residential and nursing. Specialised dementia care is offered by some residential care homes, but for long-term care, a nursing home will be best equipped.

Residential care home

A residential home is a safe place where 24-hour care and support for residents, sometimes including those living with dementia, is provided.

A residential care home only has care staff, so it is appropriate for people who need assistance with their daily activities such as washing, dressing and meal preparation. It is not suitable for someone who has an ongoing nursing/medical requirement.

Specialised dementia care is offered by some residential care homes.

Nursing care home

A nursing home is very like a residential care home, but the main difference is there are always trained nurses on duty. This means they are more suitable for people who have a medical condition such as dementia that has progressed beyond early stages, or people who have been told they have other nursing needs.

There are also dual-registered care homes which cater for both residential and nursing clients within the one care home. This can be beneficial as someone may not have nursing needs at the moment but may do in the future

Find out more about specialist dementia care within a care home.

Dementia home care

Domiciliary care is when care is provided in a person’s own home. This can be appropriate if help is required with practical tasks or personal care without a move to a care home. This type of care can help people with dementia to stay in their own home.

Help and support with daily tasks such as shopping or cooking, getting up and dressed, or companionship can often be provided in the person’s home by a carer from an agency (known as domiciliary care, care at home or hourly care). These can be provided for a set period of time or even a few times throughout the day (commonly as a ‘visit’). 

Read more about receiving dementia care in your own home.

Live in dementia care

Live in care is when a trained carer lives in the home of the person needing care. This is a good solution for someone who typically sleeps well through the night, as the carer will also be asleep.

A live in carer will need to have a separate bedroom within the home and most agencies require a daily break of at least two consecutive hours, so extra care cover may be needed for this time. 

Familiarity and stability of environment can be really important to the wellbeing of a person living with dementia. Employing a live in carer enables the person with dementia to receive full time care but within their own home, so without the upheaval of moving to a care home. This also helps the person to retain their independence and continue their normal routines as much as possible.

More information about the benefits of live in care for someone with dementia.

Dementia respite care

Spending time with and caring for someone with dementia can be difficult and everybody needs a break sometimes.  

Respite care (which is also known as ‘short stay’ care) provides an unpaid carer with some time away from their caring responsibilities. The four main types of respite care are a care home stay, domiciliary care (care in the person’s own home), day centres and respite holidays/hotels

These can range from a few hours so an informal carer can have a short break, to a longer term stay in a care home to enable the carer to take a holiday.

Read more about the different types of respite care that you might want to consider.

Dementia day care

Day care for people living with dementia is provided by adult day centres, to give people with dementia support and friendship, while also giving unpaid carers a break from their responsibilities.

Adult day care centres are usually open in the daytime during the week and sometimes in the evenings and at weekends too. Some may also provide transportation if needed, and meals for those attending the day centre. Here’s some more information about the many benefits of attending a dementia day care centre.

NHS dementia care 

Support is available from the NHS and the adult social services of your local authority to help when living with dementia. Along with the NHS treatment that your GP and local hospital provide you, there are other NHS healthcare services that can help someone living with dementia. These include:

  • physiotherapy
  • hearing care (audiology)
  • eye tests (optometry)
  • foot care (podiatry)
  • speech and language therapy
  • support from the NHS Older People’s Mental Health team

The first step to finding out the help you may be entitled to is to book a care needs assessment, which is provided free of charge by a social worker or occupational therapist.

We’ve got more information about how you can access NHS dementia care.

Palliative care for dementia

Palliative care is professional support for people with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones. 

Rather than simply focusing on the physical aspects of your illness, palliative care incorporates psychological, social and spiritual care for you and your loved ones. 

Palliative care mainly aims to improve quality of life for people with late stage dementia and help them live it to the fullest. To achieve this goal, palliative care will:

  • Help to manage physical symptoms like pain
  • Provide emotional, spiritual or psychological support
  • Provide support with daily practicalities like house cleaning, eating or getting dressed
  • Help loved ones to cope

Read more about the palliative support for dementia that you can access here

End of life dementia care

While it is perfectly possible to live well with dementia for any number of years, it is unfortunately still advisable to plan ahead and think about end of life care.

Making these decisions while you or your loved one with dementia is still able to make their choices known will give everyone a sense of peace and help to avoid difficult situations at a later date.

End of life planning can help you decide: 

  • how you’d like to be cared for in the final months of your life
  • where you’d like to be cared for
  • who you’d like to be with you

Learn more about the end of life care and the different settings it can be provided in different settings, depending on your need and your wishes.

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