When Should Someone With Dementia Go Into a Care Home

Unlike what most people have been led to believe, dementia is not just a specific disease but a series of conditions. These conditions contribute to a decline in brain function and can cause impaired judgment and memory loss.

According to NHS, it is an ” ongoing decline of brain functioning’ and ‘1 in 11 people over the age of 65 have dementia in the UK.’

Dementia starts from something as simple as minor forgetfulness, distorted thinking abilities, isolating oneself, etc. Then, it progresses to something more severe.

When it becomes severe, it is necessary that they are not alone and that someone is there to care for them. This can pose a challenge for the family of the patient as it becomes an emotional turmoil for them to place their loved ones in a care home.

While it can be tough to consider putting your loved one in a care home, many see it as a necessity. This article will guide you on the signs to let you know when your loved one needs to be put in a care home.

It will also explore other options you have, such as domiciliary care service (which is distinct from a care home), the benefits of a care home and how to decide which one is the best one for your loved one.



Signs Your Loved Ones May Need a Care Home

  • Increased care needs
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Declining physical health


Increased care needs

In the early stages of dementia, the patient may still be able to perform certain major functions for themselves such as bathing, eating, using the restroom, dressing, etc.

However, as the condition progresses, patients find it hard to do these things themselves and will need help getting around.

Also, once they are diagnosed, they will need help taking their medications properly – in the right dosages and at the right time.

Aside from the above, they need to be guided and watched while walking so that they don’t wander off, fall or walk into dangerous objects.


Changes in behaviour

When a patient is first diagnosed with dementia, their behaviour can be managed first. However, as the condition worsens, the patient begins to become more agitated because they can’t remember stuff.

Sometimes, they can get aggressive and start attacking those taking care of them. At that point, they need professional help who knows how to take care of situations like that.

The agitation and aggression can be attributed to a lack of proper communication. When they cannot express what they need at a particular point in time, they can get worked up.

Continuously, severe dementia can cause hallucinations or make them delusional. When the hallucinations start, they will sometimes need medical professionals who will talk them through it.

For instance, if a loved one is hallucinating that a deceased family member is still alive and talking to them. They need to either be gently reminded that the person is dead or be left to their assumption that the person is still alive.

The stance to take in positions like this will be determined based on the severity of the person’s dementia and recommendations of their medical carers.


Declining physical health

At times, people with dementia may forget or refuse to eat. It could be because it is always stressful to try to put food in their mouth themselves, and even when they are fed, they tend to forget to open their mouth to take the food.

This causes them to lose so much weight which may be unhealthy for them. At the care home, they are encouraged to eat healthy meals properly prepared by a chef who specializes in handling the food of each individual based on their needs.

Aside from the difficulty in eating, they suffer from infections and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, creutzfeldt-jakob disease, etc, and will need help with treatments and subscriptions.

Continuously, they may need help moving around either on foot or in a wheelchair.



Considering Domiciliary Care Before a Care Home

There are other options aside from care homes that you can consider for your loved ones. The first option to consider is domiciliary care which involves hiring a professional caregiver or medical personnel to take care of the person in their homes.

The caregiver may live in with the patient or come in daily (during the day and leave at night) or weekly (stay through the week and go home on weekends).

Another option to consider is respite care – this is when a person is hired temporarily to give the major carer time off for themselves. The short and timed breaks allow the major carers to spend time with family and recuperate so that they don’t break down.

The third option is adult day programs that allow elderly individuals to receive care for a short while during the day and then go home to their loved ones at night. It is mostly a non-residential area where elderly people can receive professional help, especially after a hospital discharge.

You can also consider putting them in care support groups where they can receive emotional support, practical advice, more motivation and a means to release pent-up emotions.



Benefits of Domiciliary Care for Dementia Patients

Unlike what most people would like to believe, domiciliary care can be the best option for dementia patients because of the benefits that come with it.

One of the major benefits is that they get to receive specialised care. This is because domiciliary staff are highly trained and knowledgeable in the care of dementia patients.

They also receive care in a familiar environment — their home — which can be highly beneficial in the treatment process as well as positively impact their emotional well-being. 


How to Decide Which One Is the Best Option for Your Loved One

Between the available care options – care home, domiciliary care, respite care, care support groups and resources, etc. – which one do you think is the best for your elderly?

Remember that dementia care for your loved ones is a journey, not a destination, so making the right decision is paramount. The first option is to communicate with them to let them know what they prefer and what makes them happy.

Be sure to discuss with other of your family members to know what they think before you make your decision. Consult healthcare professionals to get their opinion on what is best for your loved one.



There has been a long debate about what is the right decision for an elderly loved one. Most people believe that it is unfair to put your elderly loved ones away after they have spent years taking care of you.

While that is an emotional argument, there is some iota of truth in it. For this reason, it is best to hire a domiciliary caregiver to care for them at home so they can still be looked after at the place they value and love.

If making the decision still seems tough, you can consult a domiciliary care service for advice on what to do.