Dementia Care

Dementia is a collection of symptoms that affect aspects of daily life over time.

This can range from memory loss, to impaired communication and motor skills. Dementia is caused by a number of specific conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia which cause damage to the brain's cells – making it more difficult for them to communicate with each other.

While There's no cure, that doesn't mean it's not possible to live a happy and fulfilling life after diagnosis.

Quick overview

Dementia care is a specialist support system which is designed to support those living with dementia – it is provided by carers who are experienced and trained in caring for someone with dementia.

Dementia care refers to caring for all conditions defined as dementia – such as Alzheimher’s, Lewy Body Dementia, Vascular Dementia and Combined. It covers care for these conditions at all stages.

Specialist dementia care is practical and beneficial to those living with dementia as it provides targeted assistance in the form of activities and therapies such as reminiscence therapy, dietary adjustments, physical activity and support for challenging behaviour and sundowning.

While There’s no cure, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to live a long, happy and fulfilling life once diagnosed.

What is dementia care?

Live-in care empowers those with dementia to lead as fulfilling a life as possible.

With the right care and attention, those living with a form of dementia can have the opportunity to continue to live their life to the fullest – continuing with their favourite activities, remaining in their own home, and enjoying time with their friends and family.

Dementia care is a specialist support system which is designed to help a person with dementia to manage the symptoms – it is provided by carers who are experienced and trained in caring for someone with dementia.

Dementia care refers to caring for all conditions defined as dementia – Common types include Alzheimher’s, Lewy Body Dementia, Vascular Dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and Mixed dementia – which is a combination of two types of dementia. It covers care for these conditions at all stages – from the early stages when people experience difficulty concentrating, or finding the right words in conversation, to the later stages, when a person with dementia may have a tendency to wander and become lost, or find it difficult to eat. 

Specialist dementia care is practical and beneficial to those living with dementia, in whatever stages of dementia, as it provides targeted assistance in the form of activities and therapies such as reminiscence therapy, dietary adjustments, physical activity and support for challenging behaviour and sundowning.

Symptoms of dementia

Dementia is not a disease itself, but instead, it is a collection of symptoms which result from various diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of the condition, is a form of brain disease that causes symptoms by blocking connections between nerve cells in the brain. 

As there are many different types of dementia – each caused by different problems in the brain, the symptoms can vary. However, there are some common symptoms which can be found across the different types.

Some of the most common early symptoms, which are often present before a formal diagnosis, are:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion – around daily tasks and times/dates
  • Memory loss
  • Struggling to follow a conversation
  • Mood changes

There are many different diseases or injury which can cause dementia, however, the four most common are:

Alzheimer's disease

A progressive disease which directly affects the brain and causes dementia 

It’s caused by a buildup of proteins which form abnormal structures that cause nerve cells to die and a loss of brain tissue. 

  • confusion and disorientation 
  • difficulty making decisions 
  • hallucinations
  • low mood 
  • anxiety 
  • problems with speech 
  • personality changes 
  • memory los

Vascular dementia

Characterised by dementia symptoms occurring as a result of problems with the supply of blood to the brain. 

Caused by reduced blood supply to the brain which causes cells to die. People who have had a stroke are at higher risk of vascular dementia. 

  • slowness of thought
  • difficulty understanding
  • difficulty concentrating 
  • memory problems 
  • changes to mood and behaviour
  • confusion 
  • balance problems 

Lewy body dementia

A type of dementia caused by Lewy Bodies 

Lewy Bodies are small abnormal deposits of proteins which appear in the brain’s nerve cells. These deposits cause dementia and Parkinson’s

  • issues with thinking, understanding and memory
  • hallucinations 
  • slow movement and tremors 
  • Fainting and unsteadiness 
  • disturbed sleep 
  • depression 
  • difficulty swallowing 

frontotemporal dementia

Sometimes called Pick’s disease it covers a wide range of conditions, but generally refers to dementia caused by damage to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain 

Occurs when the nerve cells in these lobes die and the pathways connecting them change. 

  • personality changes
  • language and speech problems 
  • becoming distracted 
  • memory loss 

Diagnosis & coping with the diagnosis of dementia

Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is a frightening time, both for the person and their immediate family and friends. Of course, you’re likely to be worried about what the future holds, and how the effects of dementia will impact daily living. 

External support

A variety of charities and organisations are available to support those who have been diagnosed with dementia. From Age UK to the Alzheimer’s society, there are many support materials available for dealing with a diagnosis, talking to friends and family, and the legalities of a diagnosis. These organisations can connect you to others who are going through similar experiences too. 

Planning for the future

It’s important to make plans at the earliest possible stage so that you and your family have a plan of action and understand what choices you have. Most older people are keen to stay in the familiar surroundings of their own homes, and there are new dementia friendly  technologies and adaptations that people with dementia can benefit from in the home – such as personal alarms, and daily organisers. 

Power of Attorney

Confusion over money can be an early symptom of dementia, so appointing someone to take charge of the bank account and savings is a vital step in ensuring that you or your loved on isn’t defrauded by anyone, or falls for scams – which are unfortunately becoming more common. It’s important to organise whether someone else will be a Power of attorney over the financial affairs, for when the time comes that managing them becomes to difficult. 

There are two specific types of Power of Attorney, one of them being Lasting Power of Attorney which is the one appropriate for a dementia diagnosis.

Ordinary Power of Attorney: Ordinary Power of Attorney covers decisions about financial affairs and is valid whilst a person has mental capacity. This is suitable for those who need cover on a temporary basis, such as during a hospital stay.

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): A LPA comes into effect if a person has increasing mental decline and will cover decisions about financial affairs or health and care. An LPA is set up if an individual wants to make sure they are covered in the future.

Caring for someone with dementia

Those living with dementia can continue to live a happy and fulfilled life with the right care. If your loved one is living with dementia, there are a few things you can do to ensure they have the support they need to continue to live their life as uninterrupted as possible.

Make sure to encourage them to continue with meaningful activities that they enjoy, whilst encouraging good health and keeping up to date with any doctors’ appointments. As the condition progresses, your loved one may need extra care and attention such as help with everyday tasks or personal hygiene – for example, they may forget to brush their teeth, or be unable to cook safely. At this point a live-in carer can help to keep as much independence as possible.

There is a lot of support available from dementia groups – from coffee mornings to day centres, there are many opportunities for those living with dementia to communicate with people in a similar position and get the support they need.

How to communicate with someone who has dementia

When dementia progresses, people often have communication difficulties, and have an increasing loss of memory, therefore, it’s important to learn and understand better ways of communication, such as:

  • During social interactions speak slower and clearer with shorter sentences and simple language.
  • Keep questions to those which only require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
  • Avoid questions which test their memory.
  • Use memory books with photos to help them reminisce about special times – this can really boost their mood. If they struggle with their vision, it may be best to keep these picture based.
  • Try to understand the meaning behind what they are saying, even if it isn’t clear at first.

Home adaptions

Make their home as safe as possible, by installing grab rails in bathrooms, updating or installing smoke detectors and minimising slip and trip hazards. Some families use GPS tracking devices to keep an eye on relatives who might be prone to wandering, and if this is the case, it might be worth improving home security too. You can find more information on home adaptations here.

Dementia live-in care benefits

Whether through local authorities or private care companies, you’ll find plenty of help available, from a cleaner once a week to 24/7 care from a live-in carer. Care at home is becoming the preferred option for many older people who can be frightened by the idea of moving into a residential care home. You need to make sure that any caregiver you employ is experienced in dementia care or Alzheimer’s care, as those living with the condition usually require a high degree of patience and understanding. 

Arranging live-in dementia care assistance helps to keep you or a loved one safe in their own home, while maintaining a high degree of independent living. The constant presence of a dedicated carer can be a calming influence on your loved one – helping them manage confusion or agitation with a regular and comfortable routine. It can also give family peace of mind that someone is there to support around the clock.

Even if you’re choosing to be the carer for loved one yourself, it’s important to make time for your own needs and those of your immediate family. Respite care gives you a much-needed break, and most private live-in care companies will create a package to suit your relative’s exact needs, and you might find that the cost of live-in care in the UK works out cheaper than a care home facility.

Dementia Live-in care with Elder

Live-in care is often the best option for someone who will benefit from staying in their loved home, and Elder ensures that only the most suitable carer will help your loved one stay comfortable and get the most out of their life, no matter what stage of dementia they are in.

Arrange care with Elder and pick your own carer

We know how important it is to put your loved one at ease.  After you have spoken to a member of our team and filled in a Care Appraisal, you will be matched with carers with extensive experience and appropriate qualifications to give you the specialist help you need. You’ll have plenty of time to review their profile, introductory video, and feedback from previous customers, before choosing the carer you think fits you best. 

So rest assured, if you or your loved one is living with dementia, such as  late-stage Alzheimer’s, you will be able to choose a carer who can do everything required to look after you or your loved one, even as the condition progresses. Support ranges from light household work, and daily activities help in the early stages to more intensive support in the later stages.

Choosing Live-in care when you require specialist care has many benefits:

  • Remain in the community – Keeping precious routines and supportive social networks. This is increasingly linked with keeping a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of cognitive decline associated with progressive dementia, such as negative effects on communication skills, and depression, especially for those living with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Getting out and about – Live-in care carries a 64% reduction in the likelihood of being housebound. This is linked to reduced physical and mental health problems and mortality. Those who don’t get out and about in later life are less likely to be socially active. This could have an impact on the speed at which Alzheimer’s progresses.
  • Keep pets and animals – There is an increasing body of research indicating pet ownership can reduce loneliness and associated health risks, such as stroke and heart disease. They can also provide valuable continuity for those living with Alzheimer’s.
  • Tailored nutrition – Meals can be individually tailored to a person’s nutritional requirements. Diet is particularly important for those living with Alzheimer’s disease. A host of diets can help prevent and delay the onset and progression of dementia.
  • Keep the same GP – The close relationship between your loved one and their GP is not just reassuring. There is increasing research to suggest this can reduce mortality rates. When you move to a care home, this relationship is put at risk. When you receive care in your own home, it’s guaranteed.

Why choose Elder

Whether your loved one needs a lot of support or just a little looking after, we offer flexible, cost-effective, 24-hour care tailored especially to them.

More choice

We know how important it is to feel comfortable with your carer. That’s why we’ll always let you handpick your carer.

More control

Even at short notice, we’ll introduce you or your loved one to top-quality care when they need it. Even at 24 hours notice if urgent.

More support

Whatever questions you have, our dementia care specialists and clinical team are here seven days a week. 

More value

No surcharges, no hidden costs, and no joining fees– just truly personalised care.

Colin and Dulcie’s story

Dulcie is 100-years-old and lives with her son Colin, his wife Mary, and her Carer Sarah. She has dementia and has had full-time home care for six months. We talk to the family about the challenges of finding the right care solution for a fiercely independent woman – and how the positive benefits of live-in care with Sarah has transformed all of their lives.


Expect a higher quality of care

To bring out the best in your loved one, we bring them the very best carers.

That starts when we find those with the expertise to help your family through this difficult time. And it finishes only when we’ve found that one person we think your loved one will adore.

Invest in peace of mind

Peace of mind needn’t cost the earth. We won’t surprise you with hidden fees for weekends, bank holidays or night-times. We will be there to offer advice about how to make payment a little easier for you. So that’s one less thing to worry about.

Our Care Advisors are here for you seven days a week

Big decisions need bespoke support. So, whether you’re ready to take the next step in arranging dementia care, or are just looking for some advice, give our friendly team a call. 

Read more about dementia care

Click below to discover more on living with and caring for dementia. 

Local authority funding – how most people fund their care

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Frequently asked questions

What is live-in care?

Live-in care is a type of dementia care. A caregiver moves into a spare room in your loved one’s house, and provides round-the-clock behavioural, medical and physical support.

For more details on live-in care and how it differs from residential homes, take a look at our ‘Live-in care or care homes: what’s the difference?’ page.

Are live-in carers trained to deal with dementia needs?

Elder-approved carers are well equipped to deal with low- to mid-level dementia needs, as well as manage the symptoms that come with the condition. More pronounced needs may, however, require a specialist environment, such as a nursing home.

Dementia isn’t something you should feel you have to manage on your own, and we’re here to help. As a starting point, try our ‘How to care for ageing parents’ page.

Do live-in carers look after all forms of dementia?

They do. Dementia is an umbrella term for all sorts of cognitive challenges, and Elder-approved carers know the effect each of them can have on behaviour, memory and more.

They understand how important it is to put your loved one at ease when they get confused, and to encourage the sort of reminiscence that can help stave off the condition. But above all, they understand the value of treating every case as unique, and learning what works for that particular person.

You can find out more about how the symptoms of dementia differ on our ‘What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?’ page.

I’m a caregiver to my elderly relative. Can I work alongside a live-in carer?

You can make use of live-in carers in whatever way you need. So if you want them to take on the bulk of the responsibility, they will. But if you just want a bit of support from time to time, that’s fine, too.

The only thing that matters is that you’re using them to enhance both your life and that of your loved one. We have a few tips on how best to do this on our ‘Caregiver tips’ page.

Should I choose live-in care or nursing care?

Live-in care and nursing care are very different ways to look after a loved one with dementia – and which you choose will depend on your circumstances.

Live-in care enables your loved one to stay in a place they find familiar, and one with the potential to stimulate their memory. Nursing care, meanwhile, is a tailored environment that has been designed with safety and security in mind. This may make it a better choice for those with severe needs.

To find out more, take a look at our ‘Live-in care or nursing homes: what’s the difference?’ page.

When should someone with dementia go into a care home?

There is no set timescale when someone living with dementia should start to receive full time care. It will differ from person to person. However, once a person begins to struggle to complete day-to-day tasks and to complete their own personal care, it may be time to consider care options.

Whilst a care home is a popular choice for many, there are other options to consider for those living with dementia – such as live-in care. Dementia live-in carers can help with both medical and complex care as well as day-to-day tasks and personal care.