Dementia Care: Deciding Between Dementia Care Homes and Home Care

Dementia Care: Deciding Between Dementia Care Homes and Home Care

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    HP Homecare

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging, and often involves thoughtful discussions around which type of care environment is best for the individual. Many families find themselves weighing up the decision of a dementia care home for their loved one, or finding suitable home care.

In this article by HP Homecare, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each option to help you make this decision a little easier, based on our 20 years of experience working with families in similar situations:

Understanding Dementia Care Homes:

Dementia care homes, sometimes known as assisted living facilities, specialise in dementia care and offer an environment tailored to the unique needs of each individual with dementia. These settings provide 24/7 care teams, help with daily living tasks, and programmes designed to enhance, or maintain, cognitive function and encourage socialisation with others.

Advantages of Dementia Care Homes:

Specialised care: Care staff are trained in dementia care techniques and strategies to effectively manage the symptoms of the disease.

Safe and secure environment: Dementia care homes are equipped with additional safety features such as controlled entrances and exits, enclosed outdoor areas e.g. gardens and courtyards, fall monitors and emergency call systems to prevent accidents and disorientation.

Socialisation: Residents, across all dementia stages and dementia types, have the opportunity to interact with other residents through group activities and therapy sessions, to increase socialisation and reduce feelings of loneliness.

Respite for family and friends: Placing a loved one in a dementia care home can provide much-needed respite for family and friends, who may usually provide support. This respite is vital for the caregivers’ own mental health and wellbeing, and can prevent compassion fatigue.

Disadvantages of Dementia Care Homes:

Cost: Dementia care homes can be expensive, and the cost may not be reimbursed under some insurance plans, or supported by government benefits. This can make it financially unviable for some families.

Increased uncertainty: Moving to a new environment can be scary for individuals with dementia, which could lead to an increase in dementia symptoms.

Less personalised approach: While dementia care homes do try to provide personalised care, there may be limitations on personal belongings allowed into the setting, and less freedom of choice.

Understanding Home Care:

Home care involves hiring qualified care staff (in addition to, or in place of, family members) to aid individuals with dementia, in the comfort of their own home. This option allows for much more flexibility and personalisation of the care received, putting the individual’s needs and preferences at the centre.

Advantages of Home Care:

1. Familiar surroundings: The familiarity of home can help individuals with dementia feel more comfortable and at ease, potentially reducing anxiety.

2. Personalised care: Care plans can be tailored to the individual’s preferences, routines, and personal interests; the individual can feel autonomous and empowered in the involvement of their their care.

3. Family involvement: Home care allows family members to be a key part of the caregiving journey, with care staff able to provide emotional support to the family and promote the importance of relationships between the individual and their family.

4. Cost-effective: In some cases, home care may be more cost-effective than a dementia care home, especially when family members are able to provide some of the care themselves, or when involving a community-based service.

Disadvantages of Home Care:

1. Compassion fatigue: Providing care at home can be physically and emotionally challenging, leading to compassion fatigue and burnout, especially for family members juggling other responsibilities such as a young family, or work commitments.

2. Mitigating risks at home: Ensuring the safety of individuals with dementia at home may mean modifying the existing living space, and more frequent supervision. This can be challenging for some families.

Choosing between dementia care homes and home care is a hugely personal decision for each family, and depends on numerous factors.

Some of these factors to consider include: will the individual need specialist support considering the varying dementia stages and dementia types? Are the individual’s preferences at the centre where possible? Can we access any financial support?

Ultimately, the goal is to provide the highest quality of care to enhance the wellbeing and overall quality of life for the individual with dementia.

By weighing up the pros and cons of each option, and seeking guidance from experienced healthcare professionals, families can make an informed decision that best meets their loved one’s needs.

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Team Member


Head of Homecare