Page contents

  • Dementia care homes
  • Residential care homes
  • Nursing care homes
  • Dual-registered care homes
  • Dementia home care
  • Live in dementia care
  • Dementia respite care
  • Dementia day care
  • NHS dementia care
  • Palliative care for dementia
  • End of life dementia care
  • Frequently asked questions

Key takeaways

If your loved one needs care, there are a few types of dementia care options to consider, including: 

  • Dementia care homes are specialised care homes catering specifically to people living with dementia
  • Dual-registered care home, which caters for both residential and nursing clients within the one care home
  • Dementia respite care which provides an unpaid carer with the opportunity to take some time away from their caring responsibilities

There are a number of dementia care options available in the UK, each of which can provide certain levels of care or facilities depending on the needs of your loved one. 

Of course, there is no one size fits all formula, and the elderly dementia care options someone may need will likely change through the different stages of dementia.

This article takes a closer look at 11 types of dementia care options available, to help you and your loved ones choose the right option for all of you.


1 – Dementia care homes

Although most care homes cater for people living with dementia, some are equipped to offer care either for those with non-complex needs or those in the earliest stages of dementia. 

Specialist dementia care homes bridge this gap, catering specifically to people living with dementia.

Dementia specialist care homes have trained staff who are experienced in dementia care, meaning they can support people throughout all the stages of dementia, ensuring residents are safe, while also managing their symptoms wherever possible.

Specialist dementia care homes can be residential care homes, nursing homes, or both, which are specially designed to create familiar environments, helping residents retain their independence where possible.

2 – Residential care home

A residential care home offers 24-hour care and support for residents – and some residential care homes can offer specialised dementia care.

Residential care home staff can help with daily activities such as washing, dressing and meal preparation, however, if your loved one requires ongoing nursing or medical treatment, a residential care home may not be the best option for them.

3 – Nursing care home

Although nursing care homes are similar to residential care homes, the main difference is that there is always a trained nurse on duty.

This means nursing care homes are more suitable for people living with dementia (or other illnesses) that has progressed beyond early stages, or people who have been told they have other nursing needs – making this a dementia care option that can make loved ones feel more at ease.

4 – Dual-registered care homes

However there is an elderly dementia care option that offers the best of both worlds, and that is a dual-registered care home, which caters for both residential and nursing clients within the one care home. 

This type of dementia care is beneficial as although someone may not have nursing needs imminently, they may in the future, and the dual status of the care home means they won’t need to make any big moves that may unsettle them.

5 – Dementia home care

One type of dementia care that can be quite popular is domiciliary care, which enables a person living with dementia to receive care in their own home

This dementia care option allows people living with dementia to stay in their own home for as long as possible, while receiving any help they might need during their daily lives. 

Whether they need help with daily tasks such as shopping or cooking, getting up and dressed or they would like some companionship, a carer from a domiciliary care agency can help for a set period of time or a few visits throughout the day.

6 – Live in dementia care

Specialist dementia live in care also enables a person living with dementia to receive full-time care while continuing to live in their own home, with a trained carer living with them too.

Familiarity and environmental stability is really important to the well-being of a person living with dementia. Employing a live in carer means the person doesn’t need to go through the upheaval of moving to a care home, and allows them to retain a level of their independence and continue their normal routines as much as possible.

A live in carer will require their own bedroom within the home, and most agencies require a daily break of at least two consecutive hours, so extra care cover may be needed during those allotted breaks.

7 – Dementia respite care

Caring for someone living with dementia can be difficult and stressful, and as human beings, we all need a break from time to time. 

Dementia respite care provides an unpaid carer with the option to take some time away from their caring responsibilities. 

​​There are many different types of dementia respite care, and in some instances, a carer could receive a combination of options. Some respite care options include:

  • Day centres
  • Care at home
  • A short stay in a care home
  • Shared Lives
  • Holidays or short breaks
  • Carers’ emergency replacement care schemes

Whether a carer needs a few hours to themselves, or if they would like to be able to go on a holiday or longer break, other care options for dementia patients can be made available.

8 – Dementia day care

Dementia day care is provided by adult day centres, offering people living with dementia an opportunity to receive support and friendship, while also giving unpaid carers a break from their caring responsibilities – making this a positive dementia care option for a loved one and their carer. 

Dementia day care programmes enable your loved one to be in a place where they are cared for, fed and enjoy activities and companionship. It’s an effective type of care for dementia patients as the caregivers at dementia day cares are trained in handling different aspects of dementia.

Adult day care centres are usually open weekdays, but sometimes in the evenings and weekends too; some may also provide transportation if needed, as well as meals for those attending the day centre.

9 – NHS dementia care 

There are care options for elderly with dementia available through the NHS or adult social services of your local authority.

Alongside the NHS dementia care a person living with dementia can receive from their GP or local hospital, there are other NHS healthcare services that can help, including:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Hearing care (audiology)
  • Eye tests (optometry)
  • Foot care (podiatry)
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Support from the NHS Older People’s Mental Health team

To get a better sense of the help you or your loved one is entitled to, book a care needs assessment, which is provided free of charge by an occupational therapist or social worker. 

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.

10 – Palliative care for dementia

What type of care is needed for dementia patients diagnosed with a life-limiting illness? Palliative dementia care doesn’t just focus on the physical aspects of your illness, it also incorporates psychological, social and spiritual care options for dementia patients and their loved ones.

Palliative dementia care 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

Depending on their needs and where someone receives palliative care, the team of healthcare professionals looking after them may include:

  • Palliative care nurses
  • Your GP
  • Community nurses
  • Hospice staff
  • Social care staff
  • Physiotherapists
  • Complementary therapists

11 – End of life dementia care

Although some people can live well for a number of years with dementia, unfortunately, it is still advisable to plan ahead and think about end of life dementia care

It is important to make these decisions while the person living with dementia is still able to make their own choices known, offering them and their loved ones a sense of peace and helping to avoid difficult decisions or 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

      Frequently asked questions

      What support is available for dementia patients?
      Local authorities including social services departments and health and social care professionals can help people with dementia and their carers.
      At what stage of dementia should you not live alone?
      It will depend on the stage of dementia that the person is in.
      What type of care is best for dementia patients?
      There is no one size fits all approach and the right dementia care depends on the person.

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