Options for people with dementia

There is an increasing range of options for the accommodation and care of people who have dementia.

Medical improvements and increased awareness means that more people are being diagnosed earlier, whilst they can make decisions for their future. This guides aims to identify the most common accommodation options available to older people with dementia, balancing care and support with independence.

Assessment and advice

In most situations, it will be wise to seek a thorough assessment of the person’s needs and the likely progress of their condition when considering their accommodation options. The person’s GP will be able to advise and refer on to a psychiatrist for Older People (psychogeriatrician) or memory clinic.

The social services department of the local authority can also arrange to carry out a comprehensive assessment of need, taking into account the person’s medical and social needs. Everyone who may be in need of community care support is entitled to an assessment, regardless of their financial means.

The range of accommodation options

The available options will vary in different areas, but may include:  

  • Remaining at home with increased support, this could be done through adapting your home or carer visits to help with personal care.  
  • Moving to sheltered or retirement housing where care and support can be arranged through social services or private agencies.  
  • Moving to sheltered or retirement housing with provision of on-site care and support for people who have dementia (generally called extra-care housing but sometimes also referred to as assisted living). 
  • Moving to a care home providing personal and/or nursing care. People in intermediate or later stages of dementia that move into a care home are likely to need to be placed in a home registered for dementia care.

Providers for any form of sheltered accommodation are likely to want a prospective resident to have an assessment, with a view to identifying whether or not their needs are likely to be appropriately met in the scheme.

Other things to consider

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document that allows someone else to make decisions about your finances or welfare, should you be unable to do so in the future. An LPA must be set up whilst you still have capacity, although you can specify that it is not to be used whilst you can make decisions, if that is your wish.

Having an LPA set up will make it easier for your family and friends to manage your affairs and ensure that decisions are being taken in your best interests.

A Court appointed deputy can also make decisions on a person’s behalf if they are no longer able to do so and have not made provision through an LPA. This is generally a more costly and lengthy.