Can You Care for Someone With Dementia at Home?

Author: Lauren Greaves

Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

Yes, you can care for someone with dementia at home. Seniors with memory loss often benefit from the comfort of familiar surroundings. According to the CDC, 80% of people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias receive care at home from family members or friends. Whether you’re relying on the support of a family caregiver or contracting the assistance of a senior care agency, there are many challenges and considerations to think about when making decisions about in-home care.

What to Consider

As of 2024, it’s estimated that over 6.9 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. These conditions cause changes in the brain and body, impacting seniors’ overall safety and ability to live independently. This may include forgetting how to use household appliances, experiencing disorientation to time and place and getting lost in familiar places, such as one’s own street. Alzheimer’s can alter seniors’ sensory abilities, including vision, hearing, sensitivity to temperatures and depth perception. Memory loss can also affect behavior, causing confusion, suspicion and anxiety, and present physical challenges with motor skills and balance.

These changes typically increase as Alzheimer’s progresses. Understanding the challenges a loved one is experiencing is crucial to ensuring they receive the care they need to thrive.

Strategies for Successful Dementia Care at Home

One of the most important factors to consider about in-home dementia is home safety. Basic modifications around the home can help mitigate accidents. Keep walkways and rooms clear and well-lit to promote ease of movement, eliminating any tripping hazards, such as uneven rugs or electrical cords. Installing grab bars and safety modifications to kitchen appliances also proves helpful. As later-stage dementias can cause wandering incidents, consider installing door alarms or giving your loved one a GPS-enabled wearable device.

When caring for someone with dementia at home, encouraging independence and focusing on an individual’s strengths is key. Establishing routines and minimizing stimuli can help manage symptoms such as agitation and confusion. Creating a daily schedule provides a sense of consistency. You may utilize calendars or to-do lists to provide an easy-to-follow structure, set alarms or reminders for meals and medications and incorporate visual cues, such as labels, around the home. 

Planning for the Future

Considering the progressive nature of dementia, planning for a loved one’s future needs becomes important. Health care professionals and eldercare advisors can offer valuable guidance in navigating the complexities of dementia. Providing care for someone with dementia can be physically and emotionally taxing. As a family caregiver, support is available. Seeking help from local support groups or respite care services can alleviate some of the caregiving burden.

In some cases, an individual’s condition may progress past your ability to provide adequate care. In these instances, transitioning to a memory care community equipped to provide specialized care and supervision may be the best option.