Is At-Home Care Better for Dementia Patients?

Author: Andrea Miller

Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

At-home care is better for many dementia patients. Studies show that aging in place helps people with dementia avoid hospital readmissions, connect with their family members and reduce care costs. In addition, dementia patients feel safer in familiar surroundings and thrive on companionship with loved ones when they live at home.

Is It Safe for People Who Have Dementia to Live Alone?

Many people with dementia can safely live alone, especially during the early stages of the disease. If your family member chooses to live alone after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, they should have a plan of care in place for their basic needs. Help them sign up for available resources such as Meals on Wheels and housekeeping services, with information available through your local Area Agency on Aging.

Loved ones should check in on the person frequently. If possible, create a schedule so they have a visit from a family member or trusted friend daily. If your family member becomes unable to meet their basic needs, consider either a live-in caregiver or a residential care facility. Memory care communities offer personalized assistance for people who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

How Much Does Home Care Cost?

Home care costs around $5,720 per month for homemaker services and $6,292 for care from a home health aide, according to 2024 data from the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Medicare covers part of the cost of home care for eligible members who cannot leave their homes and require skilled nursing care and related services.

If your family member who has dementia qualifies for home care, they receive skilled nursing, rehabilitation, medical social services, medical devices and durable medical equipment as deemed necessary by their health care provider. Medicare pays for up to eight hours a day and 28 hours a week of home care, defined as part-time intermittent care. Often, family members step in to provide care and companionship if the person with dementia requires more extensive care. Some families consider a residential setting in this situation.

When Does a Person With Dementia Need Residential Care?

A person with dementia needs residential care when their requirements exceed the abilities of home caregivers. In addition, some people who have dementia prefer the communal setting and structured routine of a residential care community. Many people with dementia receive home care for the remainder of their lives and don’t develop a need for long-term residential care.