When Should Someone With Dementia
Go Into A Care Home?

  • Facilities at Moorhouse Nursing Home in Surrey

When someone you love is diagnosed with dementia, it can be an exceptionally challenging time for everyone concerned. As their cognitive functions decline and they struggle to care for themselves even with the support of you and other relatives, you may choose to make the difficult decision to move them into a care home.

But when should someone with dementia go into a care home? How can you be sure the time is right and what are the signs you should be aware of?

In this post, we are going to take a detailed look at the right time someone living with dementia should receive full-time, professional care and how this hard decision is also the right one for you and the rest of your family. 

In this article:

  • Dementia care homes: when is the right time?
  • Signs to look out for
  • Elderly day care
  • Who makes the decision that it is time for someone with dementia to move into a care home?
  • What are the benefits of moving into a dementia care home?
  • Our advice for the move and afterwards
  • Funding and support for dementia care
  • Other care types
Get in touch about our dementia care service

Dementia care homes: when is the right time?

Dementia doesn’t only impact a person’s memory, but their behaviour and communication skills as well. These changes are likely what prompted you to speak to a doctor to get an official diagnosis for your loved one as you were worried about their health.

Following a dementia diagnosis, the effects are likely to worsen over time. This can make caring for someone living with dementia progressively more difficult not only from a workload point of view, but also that of your mental and physical health.

Over time, someone living with dementia may no longer be able to get out of bed, get dressed, clean themselves, feed themselves, use the toilet or take their medication by themselves. When this happens, care can be exceptionally challenging if you haven’t received the right training. It can also be time-consuming, upsetting and stressful for both of you. You may find that professional care would be more beneficial before things get to this stage, however, everyone’s individual circumstances do vary.

This can be a slow decline, or it may happen suddenly, and it may not be something that you notice at first. But, if your loved one needs support doing what many would consider ‘easy’ day-to-day activities, then it will have a major impact on their life, as well as your own.

Signs to look out for

When looking after a loved one with dementia, you will notice their cognitive functions change over time, either quickly over a few months, or slowly over several years.

You may think that the care you are giving your loved one is enough, but it is important to think about their needs and the limitations of the care you can provide. You also need to look after your own mental and physical wellbeing, which will be impacted the longer you provide care yourself.

Consider the following signs to look out for, which suggest it may be time for your loved one to move into a care home and receive full-time, experienced care.

They struggle with mobility

Mobility becomes a challenge for everyone as we age, but those with dementia may experience major mobility issues. This includes anything from getting in and out of bed to making themselves a cup of tea. Advanced mobility challenges mean they may even struggle to use the toilet or feed themselves.

At this stage, your loved one will require around-the-clock care, which you may not be in a position to give if you have commitments such as work or children to look after. If you haven’t received training, moving someone around the house can be hard and could lead to accidents.

Once mobility issues begin to develop, you may want to consider a care home before your loved one requires constant help with their mobility.

Header | Ashberry Care Homes

They may be confused and forgetful

As their cognitive functions decline, your loved one will experience memory loss and confusion. This can include their short-term and long-term memory. This could be something as simple as forgetting where something was placed or how to use something.

This can become more serious if they are unable to remember if they have taken their medication or aren’t sure if they’ve eaten.

They may also be confused about the time, which may involve them getting up or going to sleep at different times of the day. This can lead to their days switching around and they spend the night awake.

Because their brain works differently, it can be easy for you to get frustrated and angry. This may lead to your loved one getting upset, which could make for a challenging environment to live in – especially as they may not understand why you are angry. To try and avoid this, you should consider seeking full-time care for your loved one.

They may wander

One of the common symptoms of dementia is wandering, which will likely increase over time. When someone living with dementia wanders, they will have a purpose, but they may not necessarily be able to tell you what that is. They may have a specific route they walk, but this can change. The danger here is, paired with their confusion, they may wander somewhere they do not recognise, which could result in them getting lost.

Care homes are equipped to deal with wandering residents, so if the frequency of wandering increases you should consider moving your loved one into a care home.

You may experience stress

Not all of the signs that someone should go into a care home are specific to the person living with dementia. If you experience stress, anxiety or upset by caring for a loved one, then this is another reason to consider a care home.

Of course, you love them and want them to have the best quality of life, which is why you are caring for them. However, if you’re constantly stressed you may not be able to give the best care – plus, stress can make any health concerns you might have worse.

As well as the wellbeing of your loved one, you also need to be mindful of your own health, and should also be an important consideration in your decision

Elderly day care

If you believe your loved one would benefit from professional care but you are not sure how they will respond, elderly day care offers your loved one the opportunity to experience what life would be like in a care home for a day.

Elderly day care is a great way to introduce someone living with dementia to life in a care home. They can familiarise themselves with the new surroundings and get to know care home staff and the existing residents. That way, if you choose for your loved one to move into a care home, it can be a far less stressful and upsetting transition.

For more information, read our dedicated page to our elderly day care services.

Who makes the decision that it’s time for someone with dementia to move into a care home?

When the time comes for someone with dementia to move into a care home, the final decision is made depending on your individual circumstances.

If your loved one still retains many of their cognitive abilities, they may choose to move into a care home themselves. This is the preferable way to make the decision, as it usually avoids stress and upset.

However, this may not always be the case. For many, the decision has to be made by a loved one due to the decline of their cognitive functions. Unfortunately, this can be a complicated process and may require legal intervention. If possible, ask your loved one to grant you or another relative with lasting power of attorney (LPA), which allows that person to make decisions on their behalf – including moving them into a care home.

If this is not possible, your local adult social care authority can make this decision.

What are the benefits of moving into a dementia care home?

As hard as the decision is to move a relative into a nursing care home, there are so many benefits that mean it could be the right decision for both you and them. These benefits include:

  • A better quality of life
  • Companionship and company while surrounded by like-minded people
  • 24/7 personalised care from a specialist team
  • Safety and security
  • Reduced stress and anxiety for you and your family
  • Regular activities to stimulate their mind
  • Three freshly-cooked, nutritious meals a day

Our advice for the move and afterwards

The day of the move can be a difficult one, especially if you or social services made the call to move your loved one into a care home. To make it easier, we recommend following these steps:

  1. Take advantage of elderly day care or respite care services so your loved one is used to life at the care home
  2. Be open and honest about what is happening
  3. Offer reassurance and try to pre-empt any complications
  4. Keep things as familiar as possible, such as bringing their own furniture, photos and ornaments with them
  5. Find a moment when your loved one is occupied to leave to avoid distress and upset
  6. Try to resist visiting the care home too soon after your loved one moves in, as they can think that you have come to collect them

For more information, read our post on how to prepare a dementia patient for moving into a care home. 

Funding and support for dementia care

Depending on your circumstances, your loved one may be eligible for financial support to ensure they get the level of care they need. If they have assets greater than £23,250 (as of 2023) they will need to self-fund their care. However, if they have assets totalling less than £23,250, they may be eligible for support.

Your local authority can undertake a needs assessment and means test to calculate the level of support and funding your loved one needs.

To discover more about funding and support, read our post on how people living with dementia pay for care.

Other care types

There are three main types of care your loved one can receive at Ashberry Care Homes, if they are living with dementia. Read our guide to different types of dementia care for more information.

Residential | Ashberry Care Homes

Residential care

Discover more
Residential | Ashberry Care Homes

Respite care

Discover more
Quality | Ashberry Care Homes

Elderly day care

Discover more

Enquire today

When your loved one needs the support of a professional team of carers, it can be the best decision for them and you. Read more about our dementia care services or get in touch with our team today for more information.

Need a hand finding the right care home?

Get in touch.

    Pale Green Leaf | Ashberry Care Homes