Whether you need to make a decision very soon or just want to plan ahead, here’s some useful information to help you cope with the next step of your loved one’s dementia journey
There are different types of care homes so you need to think about what sort they might need and then find out whether it’s available in your area
Residential care homes
These are staffed with carers who can offer personal care such as washing, dressing and eating, staff might also be trained in dementia care, but not in nursing.
Nursing care homes
These have to have a qualified nurse on duty 24 hours a day. The term EMI (it stands for Elderly Mentally Infirm) is still sometimes used to describe nursing homes for people with dementia, but it is generally considered an outdated term. These days, EMI usually refers to people who have later stage dementia or very complex needs.
Good to know: Some residential care homes also have nursing units which can be particularly useful for people with dementia. It’s often reassuring to know that if their condition progresses, the care home will be able to accommodate any extra needs or nursing requirements, rather than the person with dementia having to move again to a different home.
Did you know? 70 per cent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems.
A care home could be the right choice if
- The person you care about doesn’t have any emotional attachment to the place they currently live – perhaps they haven’t lived there very long – and the thought of moving doesn’t seem to bother them.
- You currently live together but you have reached a point where you can’t cope – and would prefer their future care to take place somewhere else.
- The person you love lives alone and is very isolated and lonely – a care home could provide more social stimulation and activity.
- Care homes and nursing homes can be very expensive
- It’s not always possible to find the right home in the right location – you might end up having to travel some distance or be prepared to go on a waiting list.
- People with dementia often find moving traumatic and disorientating – and the loss of independence can be particularly upsetting.
This option will allow the person you love to stay at home with a little or a lot of support from a professional carer.
You can pay for a carer to visit for a few hours a day – maybe to help with mealtimes or to take your loved one out shopping or to social events. Or you could have someone come in for a couple of days a week, at weekends or even just at nights so you can get some uninterrupted sleep.
If the person you love needs daily support, you can hire a full-time carer to help with everything from household tasks to outings and personal care.
A live-in carer is the best option if your loved one lives alone and needs support right through the day and night, or if they have more complex needs.
- Things can still go wrong, particularly if you’re relying on one carer who gets sick or finds another job.
- If the person you love declines suddenly you might have to start looking for a different carer (or hire more than one) who can cope with their increasing needs.