When it comes to dementia care there are a number of options available.
From visiting health workers to supported living facilities or more comprehensive residential care services, varying levels of dementia care are available to suit individual needs.
In this blog we'll cover all the different care options available to help you make the most informed decision for you or your loved one.
Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:
- Dementia care can be provided within someone’s own home to help retain independence and remain in familiar surroundings.
- If care needs progress, then dementia care can be provided within a residential care home or a care home.
- Dementia care is not a free service and will require funding, either private self-funded or via public funding.
- The NHS offers Continuing Healthcare Funding (CHC) which is based on an individual’s health needs.
Dementia care in your own home
A dementia diagnosis does not necessarily mean that your loved one cannot continue living in their own home.
There are lots of benefits to getting care at home, especially as it is an environment that they know and love.
This reduces the potential for confusion and feelings of being lost in an unfamiliar place.
Power of memories
Alongside this, the home is where people with dementia are constantly interacting with memories formed in those spaces.
Retaining the familiar decoration and furniture, as well as items such as photos, can help a person with dementia stay cognitively engaged.
And if you want to know what are the early signs of dementia this guide can help.
Dementia care to enable independence
Receiving dementia care in your own home also helps promote continued independence, something that is not always possible in a care home.
Many people with dementia, especially those in the early stages of care, are likely to want to retain as much normality in their lives for as long as possible.
Respecting this independence can mean the world to your loved one.
However, we know that as the condition progresses, a higher level of dementia care is often required.
While this is not always a welcome prospect, you must support a loved one with dementia in a way that suits their individual needs.
In more advanced stages of dementia, round the clock support is often required for people living in a residential setting.
And that means it’s important to know what is a care plan.
Without the professional support of nurses and care workers, this could require a family member to move into the person with dementia’s home.
When your loved one needs 24-hour dementia care
For those with advanced symptoms of dementia, it might be necessary to employ the help of a trained care worker to provide dementia care around the clock.
This is referred to as 24-hour care and can take a number of forms, depending on your preferences.
While the carer might not actually live-in at the home of the client, they are on hand to provide care on a 24-hour basis.
You might be assigned a number of home carers who visit the house on rotation in order to help with certain tasks.
How a home carer may help with dementia care
- Medication supervision
- Toilet and incontinence
- Washing and personal hygiene
- Exercise, movement and transfers
- Food preparation and feeding
This round the clock care gives you peace of mind that your loved one is always being looked after.
This is especially important if their behaviour changes in the evening, an event that is called sundowning.
If evenings are a busy time, with young kids or things that render you unavailable to support your loved one, an experienced carer arriving for the evening can be a great help.
Dementia care in care homes
Due to the potentially round the clock nature of advanced dementia care, home care can often become overwhelming if left solely to one family member.
An alternative option is to consider moving your loved one to a care home.
Based on their needs, as well as their families’ financial means, there are a number of options available for dementia care in a home.
And go here if you want to know more about when should someone with dementia go into a care home.
Types of care home
There are two main types of care homes available which cater to different levels of health needs.
Residential care homes
In a residential facility, residents live and socialise together.
If necessary, they are supported by team members who help with daily activities such as washing and taking medicines.
There may be differing levels of independence in a residential home without a focus on any specific health condition.
Care can be tailored to individual needs – as little or as much help as is needed, offering peace of mind for families.
When it comes to dementia care, residential homes are a good option for those who want to maintain independence in a dementia-friendly environment with support close by.
Nursing care homes
A nursing home offers a more comprehensive nursing service for people with complex health conditions, such as those in the advanced stages of dementia.
Qualified nurses work amongst other care staff to deliver personalised, professional health care for your loved one.
Nursing homes are a good option for those with high-level care needs that require 24-hour professional support.
The benefits of dementia care in a care home
Dementia care, provided in a care home, offers the security of 24-hour support and assistance.
Not only are there always carers on hand if help is needed, there are many other residents to socialise with.
This reduces the potential for isolation and loneliness.
Everything in a care home is specially adapted for the needs of older people.
These can range from mobility aids in the bedroom, bathroom or communal spaces to dementia-specific spaces and facilities.
Equally, some care homes specifically care for people with dementia, and have enhanced training and understanding of the complexities of the condition and the need for sensory stimulation.
How to access dementia care
It might be the case that your loved one has stated that they would like the support of a residential care facility.
Or has made arrangements, such as Lasting Power of Attorney, for you to decide when is the right time to seek extra support.
The move between the home and a care home is accompanied by a number of assessments.
Steps to access dementia care
Firstly, social services provide a needs assessment which can be applied for through the UK government website.
This takes you to the domain of your county council, who play a role in these social services.
You can also talk to your local NHS team or speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau.
They can help you organise a needs assessment for care.
Once a needs assessment has been completed, your provider will be able to direct you to more information about paying for care or applying for NHS continuing health care.
Paying for care
When dealing with an emotionally charged issue such as dementia care, it can be hard to think about finances at the same time.
However, using a residential care home or a visiting carer service does come at a cost.
NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding
The NHS offers Continuing Healthcare Funding (CHC) which is based on an individual’s health needs rather than financial means.
To qualify, the person in question must have what is known as a primary health need.
This means that their ‘health need’ takes priority over what the local authority is legally required to provide.
While not everyone may qualify for CHC funding, it is worth finding out if it is available to you.
You can do this through the UK Government online tool and CHC checklist.
Financial help from the council with dementia care
As a general rule, to qualify for financial help from your local council you must:
- Have less than £23,250 in savings
- Not own your own property
You can apply to have a financial means test in which an officer will visit you to discuss your previous income, assets and pensions.
Essentially, the more you have, the more you are expected to contribute towards care costs.
For more information about financial help when paying for dementia care, visit the NHS website
Self-funded dementia care
If your loved one does not qualify for financial help or CHC, it is expected that payment for care services comes from personal funds.
For more information about this process and payment, you should contact your local council or care home directly.
If you found this guide useful then you might like to check out these guides on:
Dementia care for your loved one
If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia or any condition causing cognitive decline, getting the right support is essential.
As their needs may be varied and subject to change, take control of their care by finding trusted home care providers on the Sweet Pea app.
Simply enter their care needs, from personal care to physical therapies, and find home care professionals in your area who are ready to help.
Click below to start your care journey with Sweet Pea.