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Dementia Support > When Should Someone With Dementia Go Into a Care Home?

When Should Someone With Dementia Go Into a Care Home?

Arden House care home in Warwickshire

Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes

There are lots of reasons why people living with dementia move into dementia care homes. Your loved one’s care requirements may have changed, meaning you or other family members can no longer provide the care they need to keep them safe in their own home.

This article discusses when someone with dementia should go into a care home, including who makes this decision, signs to look out for, getting a dementia diagnosis and creating a dementia care plan.

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In this article:

  1. When should someone with dementia go into a care home?
  2. Who makes the decision for someone with dementia to go into a care home
  3. Signs that a dementia care home may be needed
  4. How to get a dementia diagnosis
  5. Creating a dementia care plan
  6. Paying for dementia care
  7. The benefits of dementia care homes

When Should Someone With Dementia Go Into a Care Home?

There are a few reasons why somebody living with dementia might move into a care home, such as:

  • Safety concerns - Your loved one is no longer safe living by themselves, due to wandering or forgetfulness. They may also be unable to manage daily tasks such as eating and taking any medication

  • Increased care needs - You, other family members, friends or a home carer feel as though you’re no longer able to provide enough care for them, keep them safe or meet their personal care needs (even if you were previously able to). They may now require 24/7 supervision, which a care home can provide through dementia care specialists and skilled nurses. Their needs may have gradually increased (dementia is a cognitive condition so care requirements are likely to grow over time) or suddenly increased (they may have had an accident which has caused the amount of care they require to suddenly heighten)

  • Caregiver burnout - It’s common for family caregivers to experience emotional and physical strain when providing care to a loved one. When experiencing caregiver burnout, you may feel as though you’re no longer able to properly care for your loved one

  • Social isolation - A care home provides a friendly and social environment if your loved one is experiencing social isolation and loneliness at home

When the above applies, your loved one would likely be safer and more fulfilled in a dementia care home than they would be continuing to live at home.

Previously, your loved one may have only needed help with daily living tasks such as household chores which you could have helped with, but their dementia has now moved beyond this point, so specialist care is required to keep them safe.

Your loved one may have also started wandering, so a secure environment is also needed for their safety.

If you aren’t sure whether a dementia care home is the best option, it can be helpful to write a list of your loved one’s needs and whether you can adequately meet them. If you find that there are a lot of items on the list where you don’t feel you can provide proper long-term care and support, it’s probably the right time to begin considering options such as a dementia care home.

Who Makes the Decision For Someone With Dementia To Go Into a Care Home?

The person living with dementia may be able to decide for themselves whether they enter a care home. They should do this where possible. However, they may still need support from you or other family members to make this decision.

It’s common that people living with dementia have lost ‘mental capacity’, meaning they’re no longer able to make decisions for themselves. You can ask your loved one’s doctor or a different healthcare professional to assess their mental capacity.

If they’re assessed as no longer having mental capacity, somebody must decide on their behalf, such as their attorney under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This is often a family member such as a child or other relative.

A healthcare professional such as a physician or your loved one’s GP can also provide valuable input by advising on whether or not they feel full-time dementia care is required.

Staff at a potential care home can provide valuable insights into the level of care they can offer, helping you to better understand the available options.

Whoever makes the decision must always keep the best interests of the person living with dementia in mind.

Cambridge Grove care home in Cambridgeshire

Signs That a Dementia Care Home May Be Needed

The following are common dementia symptoms. If your loved one is experiencing several of these, they may need dementia care (or more advanced dementia care):

  • Forgetting recent events
  • Misplacing items
  • Finding it more difficult to complete everyday tasks
  • Increased confusion and a lack of concentration
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Withdrawing from others and social situations in general

You should also consider the following things to understand better how dementia is affecting your loved one:

With the above in mind, you can note any changes to your loved one’s behaviour, as this may indicate whether their dementia is progressing beyond the early stages. You can ask neighbours, close family and anyone else who regularly sees your loved one to do the same, and let you know of any changes or noteworthy behaviour they spot.

How To Get a Dementia Diagnosis

Healthcare professionals give several tests and scans to diagnose dementia.

The assessment process will vary from person to person, but the standard steps to getting a diagnosis are:

  1. A healthcare professional (this is often your loved one’s GP) will carry out an assessment in addition to a care needs assessment. Depending on their findings, they may then refer you to a memory clinic with specialist dementia staff

  2. Your loved one will have their potential memory loss assessed and diagnosed at this memory clinic. They may also have a scan to check for any changes to their brain and to see how it now operates

  3. Depending on the results from step 2, treatment options and additional support will be offered, including a detailed care plan

Older couple using a laptop together

Creating a Dementia Care Plan

A dementia care plan will explain exactly how somebody living with dementia can be best cared for.

Your loved one will be given a dementia plan when it’s decided that dementia care is the best option, such as in a dementia care home.

This plan should include:

  • Personal preferences - What your loved one enjoys doing on a daily basis. The foods and drinks they do and don’t enjoy should also be mentioned

  • Daily routine - The times your loved one likes to get up and go to sleep, when they like to eat, when they like doing certain activities and so on

  • Specialist care needs - The specific dementia care your loved one needs, along with any specialist medication and treatment required that would need to be given by a registered nurse

  • Personal care needs - Daily tasks your loved one requires assistance with, including washing, getting dressed and undressed, getting in and out of bed and anything else relating to personal hygiene

A dementia care plan helps carers and other members of staff better understand your loved one’s history and how to care for them.

Paying For Dementia Care

A care needs assessment will determine whether your loved one requires dementia care. This isn’t necessary if you already know what sort of care they need, but it is required to get a financial assessment, as this immediately follows a care needs assessment.

A financial assessment will determine whether your loved one has to pay for their own care or if they’ll qualify for full or partial funding support from their local council. This will depend on the total value of their savings and income (and assets if they go into a dementia care home).

Unless they qualify for local authority funded support or NHS continuing healthcare, people living with dementia have to pay for their own care. Your loved one could also qualify for NHS-funded nursing care if they aren’t eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.

The average cost of the dementia care homes we list is:

For more information, we have an article explaining care home costs throughout the UK.

The Benefits Of Dementia Care Homes

  • Peace of mind for residents and their loved ones
  • Round-the-clock care is available in a safe and friendly environment
  • Your loved one will have the chance to meet other similarly-aged residents going through similar experiences. This time can be spent in communal areas and taking part in fun social activities such as gardening (often in a sensory garden), painting and singing
  • The security offered by dementia care homes will help prevent wandering
  • Food menus can be tailored to the preferences and dietary requirements of individual residents
  • You can visit your loved one in their brand-new home as often as you wish

We Can Help You Find Dementia Care

You can get in touch with our team of friendly and knowledgeable care experts, who will help you find a dementia care home or home care service near you.

Our best dementia care homes

We’ve partnered with the best dementia care homes across the UK. Here are some of our favourites to ease your search for dementia care:

Caring for somebody with dementia at home

We’re also partnered with the country’s best home care providers.

These providers offer a range of services, including domiciliary, live-in and overnight care, with these services often including specialist dementia support.

You can use our free service to search for early-stage dementia home care, late-stage dementia home care and Alzheimer’s home care.

Click the home care providers link above and enter your postcode to see which providers offer care in your area and what kinds of care they offer.

Lottie matches care seekers with the best dementia care homes for their needs. You can also request a free care home shortlist from our care experts, who will share homes matching your budget and location.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what stage of dementia should you not live alone?

The stage of dementia at which you should no longer live alone varies from person to person.

If a person can no longer live safely independently or receive the care and support they need without being in a professional care setting, they probably shouldn’t live alone anymore.

Some of the common signs that somebody with dementia can’t live independently anymore include finding it difficult to communicate and look after their own personal needs or hygiene.

What are the signs of advanced dementia?

Some of the key signs that your loved one may have an advanced form of dementia are:

  • A high level of forgetfulness
  • Limited mobility
  • They require more and more help with basic daily tasks, including their own personal care

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