If someone you love is living with early-stage dementia, continuing to live at home around familiar objects and people can help keep their mind stimulated and may slow memory loss. In many cases, they’ll require full-time care and support to ensure their safety and quality of life. Whether you choose to provide their care yourself or hire a professional caregiver to help, it’s possible to care for someone with dementia at home.
After a dementia diagnosis, opting to keep your loved one at home is a life-changing decision that requires a commitment from all members of the family. While providing care at home is a good way to ensure a stable and stimulating environment for your family member, memory care facilities also offer an array of services to promote the independence and well-being of your loved one. In these senior living communities, care is provided by trained professionals who understand the unique needs of seniors with dementia-related conditions. They provide services such as medication management, cognitive therapy and help with activities of daily living.
In many cases, adult children, spouses or other family members may choose to provide care for a loved one with dementia. If you’re considering this path, it’s important to keep in mind the commitment you’ll be making. As time passes, your loved one’s condition is likely to progress and with that, their cognitive and functional abilities will decline. Eventually, they may require around-the-clock care that includes help with eating, grooming, dressing and other daily tasks.
If you decide to take on caregiving yourself, be prepared for ups and downs in your loved one’s condition, and in your own mental health. Family caregiving is rewarding but it can also be physically and emotionally draining, so it’s important to recognize the need for breaks and to seek respite care when you need it. Take advantage of caregiver training opportunities in your region, which may be offered by your local Area Agency on Aging or Alzheimer’s Association, and learn to recognize signs that it’s time to move your family member to a care facility.
Home care can provide an array of important services for seniors with dementia. That includes help with daily tasks, housekeeping, transportation and companionship. There are two types of home care: homemaker services and home health care. The type you choose for your loved one depends primarily on their condition and needs — those with advanced medical needs, including wound care and medication management, will require a home health aide, while those who simply need help with housekeeping and some daily tasks can typically rely on homemaker services.
While some services may be covered by your loved one’s private insurance or Medicaid, it’s important to consider the costs when determining the best care option for your family. According to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey, homemaker services cost $4,481 per month, while home health aide services cost $4,576. These costs are national averages and based on 44 hours of care per week. Depending on where you live and the amount of care your loved one requires, these costs can vary considerably.