Dementia and live-in care – how does it work?

Written by Zenya Smith19/01/24


Dementia Care

What is live-in care?

Live in care is a type of dedicated dementia care. A professional carer will move into an elderly person’s home, learn their routine, and offer personalised care that supports daily living. It’s a popular choice for people in the early to middle stages of dementia, as it allows a person to remain in the familiar surroundings of their own home, and continue living as independently as possible. 

A person with dementia will usually be supported by one or two live-in carers. This can be beneficial to continuity, and means there’s not lots of different people coming to the home, which may be confusing or distressing. Live-in carers usually work in rotation, so you or your loved one might have once primary carer carer working four weeks on and two weeks off – with a regular carer coming in to provide respite care during the two week break.

Most care companies, including Elder will make previous experience with dementia a mandatory requirement when looking for a suitable live-in carer, as well performing comprehensive background checks. They should also try to match a caregiver with an older person based on background, interests and hobbies because the more the two people have in common, the more likely they are to get on well together and can build up a close and trusting relationship. 

Real life story – Dulcie

Dulcie is 102-years-old and lives with her son Colin, his wife Mary, and her Carer Sarah. She has dementia and has had full-time live-in care for over two years.

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.

What can live-in carers do to support people with dementia? 

  • Help with personal care, such as washing, grooming and going to the toilet
  • Prompt medication, ensuring the right dose is taken at the right time of day. 
  • Cook nutritious meals and offer snacks to individual tastes and requirements e.g preparing smaller portions or soft foods
  • Provide regular updates and peace of mind to family members
  • Help them keep up with social activities such as seeing friends, attending clubs, or going to church
  • Help them attend services to support their dementia experience, such as memory cafes and day centres
  • Support reminiscence by encouraging them to share happy memories, looking at photographs together, or visiting special places 
  • Provide round the clock companionship 
  • Support mobility, from safe movement around the home, to getting out and about in their local area
  • Support with everyday tasks around the home such as light cleaning and laundry
  • Manage a weekly diary and offer reminders for appointments 
  • Provide behavioral care, such as helping calm someone experiencing hallucinations, or gently diffusing situations if a person becomes agitated or suspicious of those around them
  • Provide emergency care, for example raise the alarm with emergency services if they require medical attention 


Facts about dementia and live-in care 

  • It’s estimated that 700,000 family carers are currently supporting a loved one with dementia 
  • 61% of people would like to stay in their own home if they reached a point where they could no longer live independently.*
  • It is estimated that 60% of people who are receiving care in their own homes are living with dementia.
  • Dementia can increase the risk of falls and therefore, fractures. People living in care homes are three times more likely to fracture a hip than those receiving live-in care at home.*

  • 98% of people receiving live in care say it has led to an improved quality of life* 

The Live In Care Hub

The benefits of live-in dementia care 

Independent living

The live-in carer will do all they can to promote independence while keeping you or your loved one safe and providing the help and support they need. If you enjoys tasks such as cooking, the carer can help you to prepare a meal – taking on the aspects you find challenging. Experienced carers understand the importance of offering support only when it’s needed, and finding new ways for you to continue doing tasks or activities you enjoy. It’s helpful for people living with dementia to feel as independent as they can.


Minimal disruption to day to day life 

Care in their own home means people with dementia can retain as much of their preferred daily routine as possible. They can continue to get up and go to bed when they want, see friends and family without adhering to set visiting hours, and can choose when and what they eat each day. Even something as trivial as popping to the shop can be an important part of someone’s routine, however isn’t always possible with other types of care. For example, The Live In Care Hub found in a survey of care homes that a third said it was either impossible or very unlikely that residents could go for a walk outside the grounds. 

Peace of mind through 24-hour care

Some symptoms of dementia can cause additional worry to family members, and if they live far away or have other responsibilities, it can be a hugely challenging time. For example, people with dementia may start running a bath or cooking something and forget halfway through which could cause a serious injury or damage to their home. They may also start to get confused about the time of day or where they are, which can lead to them wandering round the home during the night, increasing the risk of serious falls. If they manage to leave their home, they can easily become lost. 

Having a carer providing 24 hour dementia care in their home ensures there is always some one available to keep an eye out for and prevent these behaviours. 

Real life story – Ray

Ray’s family began to notice that something wasn’t right after he started to experience memory loss and odd behaviours. His daughter has shared the impact having a specialist carer move in with him and provide one-to-one care has had on Ray, and the rest of the family. 

“My dad has always been a smart, strong, independent man. He worked for the majority of his life as a mechanical engineer, most notably for the Army and then London Transport, responsible for an overhaul of the ticket machines across the city.

He’s always been good with his hands and his mind, so when we noticed he was starting to become more forgetful, misplacing and losing things, we became worried. Slowly, more and more abnormal things kept happening. He was leaving the front door unlocked overnight and wasn’t eating or looking after himself properly.

Before exploring live-in care, his grandson lived with him during the week and he received daily visits from myself and my brother, Paul, on the weekends. We knew this care schedule was unsustainable for our family, and was really hard on all of us. It took a lot of time in our lives away from our partners, other family members, and jobs.

The carers we have had with Elder have been brilliant, I cannot fault any of them. They are very tuned into Dad and his needs, and their open communication with me and how he is doing has been key for us. It’s such a big thing for Dad to have someone new living in his home, but it’s also a big thing for our family having to acknowledge and accept the fact that Dad can’t live on his own again without potentially coming to harm.”

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How does dementia care work with Elder?

Step 1: Tell us what you need

Give us a call or get started online. We’ll ask you some simple questions on who the care is for, where they live, and what you’d like a carer to do. Based on your answers we’ll begin to match you with carers over the next 24 hours, for you to review in your MyElder account.


Step 2: Shape your solution

Complete your care profile – this is your opportunity to tell us more about the type of dementia you or your loved one is living with and how it impacts their daily life. You can also tell us about any other chronic conditions or other health issues that need specialist care too. Once complete, our in house clinical team will review your profile and confirm whether care can go ahead safely. At this step you’ll also receive full details of the most suitable care professionals. You can chat with your favourites, before making the final arrangements with your chosen carer.


Step 3: Stay in control

Once care is in place you and your family can manage it from anywhere with your MyElder account – all you need is access to the internet. Here you can update the care requirements as the condition progresses, receive regular updates from your carer, and manage your payment details securely – whether you’re self-funding care or receiving a form of care funding from the NHS or social services. And if at any time you’d like to speak to someone, you’ll be assigned your own Family Support Specialist from our dedicated team who’ll happily answer any questions.


Real life story – Peggy

After a short spell in residential care, Peggy’s daughter Jill was desperate to get her back home. She shared how personalised care from a live-in carer helped her mum become more of herself again. 

“Peggy’s home is the most important thing in the world to her. A short stay in a care home made her more confused, she seemed bewildered. She suffers from dementia so wasn’t able to say which clothes were hers, so she wasn’t always wearing her own clothes when I visited. She has never been very extroverted, so the social side of things just didn’t work for her either. I really just hated her being there.

As soon as Peggy came home, she just improved so much, she became herself again. She had lost her ability to get herself about in the home, but now she is doing all of that for herself again.

It’s her own things, her own furniture, and that really helps her to remember. She obviously feels in control again because she is still house proud” 

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Learn more about dementia care

Take a look at more Elder guides on living with and caring for dementia. 

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