Practical help at home


Home Care

Home Care is also known as domiciliary care. It involves trained care staff assisting the person with dementia with personal care tasks. These can include getting up in the morning, washing, showering, bathing and dressing; preparing meals and helping with eating if needed; help with any specific social needs, including prompting to take medication; helping with mobility – Home Care staff have specific training covering moving, handling and the use of hoists and help to get to bed at night.

Care staff can visit your relative’s home every day for as long as is needed. Before a routine is set in place, visits should be arranged between the agency, the person with dementia, you or anyone who may offer regular, unpaid support and anyone else who may be able to advise on your loved one's care and support needs. This will look at specific care needs and how they will best be met with support. A clear care and support plan will then be drafted.

The care plan means everyone knows when visits are to be expected and the tasks the care assistant will assist with. Visits can vary depending on individual needs and care assistants can visit more than once a day if needed. Typically, care services are available from 7am until 10pm. Night sitting is also a possibility and can help if your loved one experiences difficulties sleeping at night and the person supporting them at home needs to get a good night’s rest.

The hourly rates for this type of service vary depending on the specific services required, the time visits are arranged for and the location. Always ask for a clear breakdown of costs, any additional charges and whether they are reviewed annually before deciding on an agency.

Live-in care

If your relative has round the clock care and support needs but would like to remain at home, 24-hour live-in care may suit them. Live-in care can be an alternative to a care or nursing home and can be an option for family carers to take a short break.

As well as all the tasks you would expect a care assistant to help with, live-in carers can also become great companions and provide assistance with other tasks including running the household and accompanying them on social activities.

Some practical tips

Simple aids and adaptations around the house can make a huge difference to someone’s independence. They can be subtle and unobtrusive and help manage everyday tasks. These could include medicine dispensers, cupboard labels or pictures, contrasting coloured crockery or large handled utensils. There is a wealth of different items.

There’s also an increasing number of electronic devices or assistive technology products on the market that can offer support to someone with dementia. These can include sensors that indicate when the gas or water is left on, devices that notify if someone leaves the house and voice commands to remind your loved one of specific actions. You can even record the messages yourself to offer a familiar voice.

If you’re not sure where to start an occupational therapist may be able to help. If you’re not in touch with the local authority’s adult social care department, then you may need to make contact in order to access an occupational therapist. However, if there is an independent living centre nearby, they may have in-house occupational therapists. Some independent living centres are open to the public, whereas others are run by the local authority – contact your local centre for more information. Alternatively, there are a growing number of private occupational therapists. A quick search online may find one local to you.

For online information on what may be available to assist, the Living Made Easy website offers help and advice on daily living as well as details on equipment. For more information visit www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk.