Carers who sleep overnight
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Carers who sleep overnight: A guide to overnight care

3 min read |
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Author 15.08.2022

Gemma Clay

If nightimes are proving tricky for your loved one, it might be time to consider carers who sleep overnight.

Also known as overnight care, waking care or sleeping care.

Most people assume that home care is only available during the day but that’s not the case.

There are different options of overnight care available depending on your individual needs.

This guide will explain how carers who sleep overnight work, and who they are most suitable for.

Here’s what we will cover in the article:

  • Sleeping care is for people who need help occasionally, usually less than 2 times per night, on average.
  • Waking care is good for people who regularly need help overnight. This might be for changing position in bed, or taking medication.
  • Waking care is particularly helpful for people with dementia who wake in the night and struggle with disorientation.
dementia and sleep

What is overnight care?

Overnight care is simply the term for care that is given in the home overnight. 

People’s need for care often doesn’t stop after bed time, and can sometimes become more pressing.

Carers who sleep overnight can perform this care as and when it is needed. 

There are two main types of overnight care; sleeping care, and waking care. 

Sleeping care

If you have a live-in care, you might arrange for them to provide sleeping care for you. 

This type of overnight care is where the carer who is living in your home with you, assists you during the night. 

In the case of sleeping care, your carer will still need to attend to your needs during the day.

Because of this, the carer should be able to get enough sleep. 

This means that, while your carer is available to help you, it can’t be too often. 

This is important as they need to be well rested to continue to care for you.

If you find that you need more help than an average of twice a night, it might be best to switch to waking care. 

This is for both your good and that of your carer.

They are entitled to a good night’s sleep, and you are entitled to a carer who is well rested and able to do a great job. 

Waking care

Waking care is as it sounds – you will have a carer who stays awake and is available to attend to your needs, however frequently it is required. 

So this is not a carer who sleeps through the night.

Personal care tasks can include a lot of the things you might need during the day.

Such as assistance going to the toilet, administering any medication needed throughout the night, or help in turning over in bed. 

Waking care will need to be provider by a different person to who provides care during the day. 

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What care does an overnight carer provide?

Your carer will be able to administer any care or assistance you might need overnight.

During the times you are asleep, they might also complete some domestic tasks for you.

Overnight care is particularly useful for people who find they don’t sleep well.

For example, people who need to use the toilet repeatedly or need to take medication at regular intervals. 

Having a carer there to wake you when your medication is due, and make sure the dose is correct can be very helpful.

There’s a more detailed piece here on what is domiciliary care.

risks of dementia

Waking care for dementia

People who have dementia care can also benefit from overnight waking care. 

Advancing dementia can cause people to wake frequently in the night, and upon waking, feel upset and disoriented – they also experience dementia sundowning

Visual clues as to where the person is can be obscured by the darkness, even if they are in their own home.

This disorientation can make people feel unsafe and scared.

They will welcome a well-known face to help them back to bed or to settle down if they are agitated. 

Carers who sleep overnight and safety

In a worst case scenario, upon waking in the dark, people with dementia can try to leave their home because they don’t recognise it. 

This can be very dangerous for the person, as they may find themselves lost and unable to get home safely.  

An overnight carer will be able to make sure that this isn’t possible.

They will also take steps to help the person feel safe in their own home, and calm.

What is night respite care?

Night respite care is also sometimes known as a sitting service. 

Night respite care is very much like day respite care. It is designed to give your regular carer a break or a rest. 

A sitting service provides great peace of mind for both the regular carer and the person themselves. 

Waking in the night and needing assistance can make people feel vulnerable. 

It is important that there is someone there to help, even when a regular carer is unavailable.

how to care for person with dementia (1)

Are carers who sleep overnight flexible?

Night respite care can be arranged flexibly. For example, you can book one night to cover illness or a carer’s day off. 

You can also book up to a few weeks of night respite care, while a regular carer takes a holiday or a break from caring. 

Care can be tailored to suit your needs.

Are you worried about a loved one?

Early signs of dementia free guide

When to try overnight care

Deciding to try overnight care is a personal decision. 

Some people are happy to have home care visits in the daytime and prefer to look after themselves overnight. 

Care at home packages are bespoke and tailored to individual needs. Plus you can interview any carers you might be using to see if you are compatible.

You can always opt for a trial period before you make a full-time commitment.

Find local care in your area today

It’s easy to find a carer who can help you or your loved one stay independent at home for longer.

Just use the Sweet Pea care matching service. All you have to do is enter your care needs and we’ll do all the hard work for you!

Gemma Clay Sweet Pea Care Webinars

Author 15.08.2022

Gemma Clay

Gemma is the Founder and CEO of Sweet Pea Care and has been advising families and care companies for the last decade through Arc Seven Communications.