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Dementia Live-in Care or Home Care: What's the Difference?

When asked, most older people say that they would prefer to receive any care needed in their own home. However, staying at home is only practicable with the right support, so if your loved one is living with dementia, you will want to explore the differences between home care and live-in care before making any arrangements for them.

Advantages of Traditional Home Care

Traditional home care is also known as domiciliary care, and delivered by carers who call at the person’s house to undertake the tasks that are needed. These can include helping the care recipient to get out of bed, get washed or dressed. Visits can be scheduled at different times of the day such as morning, lunchtime and teatime, and the needs of the care recipient will determine the number of visits arranged.

This form of care can support some people to remain independent and living in their own home for longer. They may also receive other services besides that of a caregiver; for example, meals on wheels, physiotherapist home visits or transport to attend appointments or day centres on a regular basis.

Disadvantages of Traditional Home Care

This form of in-home care means that your loved one could end up spending long periods of the day and all night alone. Some people are happy with this, but those who require dementia care may need the reassurance of someone with them and be safer if 24/7 care is in place.

Even if your loved one is safe and happy to be on their own, carers may not always able to reach them at the right time. Busy schedules mean that carers can easily be held up at one visit and this can cause them to be late for the rest of the calls in that day. It is not ideal if your loved one has to wait until someone comes to assist them with the toilet or to get their lunch.

The carers delivering care in the home are usually experienced in elderly care but may not have dementia support training, so they may be unable to deal with some aspects of the condition such as challenging behaviour.

If the person who has dementia is no longer able to carry out the domestic tasks needed in the home, someone else will need to clean, do the laundry, shop and prepare meals. Such assistance may come from a family member, but this is not always possible, and other staff may need to be employed, which can impact on the overall cost of the care.

Mikis’ care story

In this short video, Nick and Maro explain their reasons for choosing Elder live-in care.

They discuss how live-in care has allowed Nick’s father Mikis to stay independent in his own home while making a new friend at the same time.

Advantages of Dementia Live-in Care

There are many benefits to arranging private live-in care for people living with dementia. As with traditional domiciliary care, they can remain in their own home where they are happiest, but will also receive all the support they need. The live-in carer will normally have training in Alzheimer’s care and experience in helping to support people with dementia.

The carer will also carry out a range of other tasks addition to providing personal care at home. The parameters of this are arranged and documented before the care package begins, but will often include domestic duties such as cleaning, laundry, shopping and cooking. Some carers are also prepared to assist with other tasks such as gardening or helping to care for pets.

Another important aspect of live-in private care is the companionship that a live-in carer can provide. They can join your loved one in activities that they enjoy and support them to continue with their favourite hobbies. If there is a doctor’s appointment or a visit to the hairdresser arranged, the live-in carer will take your loved one to this.

This type of dementia care is also incredibly flexible. If your loved one does not feel like getting up in the morning, the carer will be able to leave them for an hour and go back to see if they are ready to be helped up. If your relative is relying on a home care visit, they would have to wait until the next call to be helped up in this scenario.

Finally, knowing that there is someone you can trust with your loved one 24 hours a day can give you peace of mind. If they need anything in the night there will be someone there to provide assistance, so you will not need to worry that they might get up and fall or wander off.

Disadvantages of Dementia Live-in Care

The carer will need their own room in your loved one’s house. They will also need facilities such as a TV, an internet connection and a comfortable chair to use when they are relaxing. The live-in carer will eat with your loved one, so their expenses would include basic food. Your loved one may find it strange at first to have someone else living in their home with them, but they should soon become accustomed to this.

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"Sometimes, all you need is a friendly face."

James, Care Professional at Elder

James Elder Carer

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