Caring for Someone with Dementia at Home

Taking care of seniors can be challenging. But taking care of seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia can be extra challenging. It requires a lot of patience and compassion. 


Caring for someone with dementia at home can be frustrating. As the disease progresses, it gets more and more difficult and complicated to care for your loved one. However, there are things you can do to make it easier both on your part and your loved one. With these practical tips, you will be able to manage daily tasks more effectively.


How to Care for Someone with Dementia at Home?


Dementia care at home is a complex and frustrating task. But it is not impossible. Just be realistic about it. It’s important that you know in advance that behavioral and cognitive changes brought about by dementia can make it very difficult to take care of your loved one. Their behavior may be unpredictable, and they may even resist care.

Nevertheless, you can manage tasks better if you understand the disease. Remember that symptoms will increase as dementia progresses. Understand the stages of Alzheimer’s so you can better identify the symptoms being exhibited, and in the process, learn how to address these changes.

How do you care for a parent with dementia?

One important component of dementia or Alzheimer’s care is proper communication. If you can develop great communication with your loved one, you can better understand them and improve your care and relationship with them. 

How to Communicating with a Person with Dementia

Here are some communication tips you can follow when caring for someone with dementia at home:


  1. Communicate with your loved one in a respectful manner. They may not understand your words fully, but they will be able to read through the tone of your voice, facial expressions, and actions. 
  2. Before you speak,  get the person’s attention. Address him or her by name, use nonverbal cues, maintain eye contact, and speak clearly.
  3. Speak clearly and slowly in a reassuring and respectful tone. Use simple words and repeat as needed when the person doesn’t understand you. Never raise your voice.
  4. When you’re asking, it’s best if you ask questions answerable by a yes or no. Be patient when your loved one is struggling to give a reply. Help them out or observe their body language and nonverbal cues. Respond with reassurance and compassion. Make them feel that you are there for them. This will help ease down their anxiety and confusion.
  5. Encourage your loved one to perform certain tasks. Break down these activities into simpler steps so that the tasks are much more manageable. Be supportive.
  6. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia can easily get frustrated, upset, and agitated. When this happens, try the distract and redirect approach. Set a positive mood. Maintain great social skills and a sense of humor when communicating.
  7. Seniors with dementia remember distant memories better than short-term ones. So focus on the good old days. This is mentally and emotionally reaffirming on their end.


Dementia Care at Home: Step by Step Plan

You need a step-by-step plan in order to better address the needs of your loved one. Their needs will modify as the disease progresses. By closely coordinating with their physician, you can better plan your dementia care. Making a home safer.

Part of your dementia or Alzheimer’s care plan is to make the home safer for your loved one. Make some changes in the home, especially when your loved one transitions to a moderate stage of dementia. They become more prone to fall and injury as their condition worsens. Hence, make the home as comfortable and safer as possible. 

You can consider the following things in order to make the home safer:

  • Assess the home and see which parts are likely to pose problems to your loved one’s safety. The usual parts include the garage, basement, workshop, and the yard. Store away from chemicals, cleaning supplies, tools, and other things that may be hazardous.
  • Make the kitchen safer. Prevent possible catastrophes by removing items that may be injurious to your loved one. Lock sharp utensils. Use appliances that automatically shut off. Prevent your loved one from using the stove.
  • Always keep emergency numbers and addresses within your sight. 
  • Regularly check if smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and other emergency tools are working properly.
  • Keep the rooms, hallways, bathrooms, entryways, doorways, and staircases well-lit. 
  • Place grab bars and make necessary adjustments in the bathroom to prevent your loved one from slipping or getting injured.
  • Make necessary changes as the condition progresses. There may be special considerations that you need to account for.


How to overcome caregiver stress while caring for a parent with dementia

When you’re caring for someone with dementia at home, you need to prepare for the worst. Stress levels get higher as your loved one transitions to severe stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It helps to compare notes and get help from a social worker who is experienced in working with personal caregivers. You can learn strategies and coping mechanisms from an experienced professional. You can also hire a qualified dementia caregiver for respite care. In this way, you can have some time for yourself.

To ease down your stress level and cope with the growing demands of your task of caring for an ailing loved one, here are some things you can follow:

  • You need to look after yourself as well. Having “personal time” is essential for your well-being. When you’re well, you can better take care of your loved one.
  • Take breaks so you can avoid getting burnout. Caregiving can be stressful and overwhelming.
  • You need a strong support system. Never do everything on your own.


Not all with dementia or Alzheimer’s experience the disease the same way. Their symptoms and progression may vary. You need to tailor your care according to the unique needs of your loved one. When caring for someone with dementia at home, the most important thing is to be patient and flexible. Be understanding, compassionate, and loving.

Private Caregiver vs Agency: Which is Better?

As our loved ones get older, we start thinking of the best options for them. When they can no longer perform certain tasks or need assistance with daily living due to failing health, it’s time to consider getting a home caregiver. When this happens, many of us get stuck in choosing between private caregiver vs agency.


Should I hire a private caregiver or hire an agency?

Which is better? Hiring a private caregiver or hiring through a home care agency? In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of these two options and weigh which of them is better. By knowing the benefits and the pros and cons of each, you can make an informed decision for your loved one or yourself. 


First, let us take a look at the benefits, pros, and cons of hiring from an agency.


Benefits of hiring a caregiver from an agency

If you hire an agency, you won’t become the employer of the caregiver. This means less liability and obligations on your part. You won’t have to go through the hassle of hiring, background check, supervising, and all that. 


An agency will perform all these things, from background checks, references on employees, supervising, client-matching, and so on. Checking references and verifying experience are just a few of the things that an agency will take care of. Agencies are also required to comply with state regulations to ensure high standards among their caregivers and staff.


Since their caregivers have gone through a rigorous process, rest assured that the caregivers that will be assigned to your elderly loved one are skilled and dependable. Consider these things when deciding on private caregiver vs agency.


When it comes to scheduling and care planning, an agency is also more beneficial. You won’t have to worry about a caregiver missing his or her shift. In case of emergency, the agency can readily provide a replacement. Should you have concerns about your current caregiver, the agency can provide you with a new one. In this regard, hiring an agency is more flexible compared to directly hiring a private caregiver.



In sum, the pros of a home care agency are as follows:


  • They perform extensive background checks, references, and verifications among their caregivers.
  • Their caregivers have complied with state regulations and have undergone the necessary training, screening, and experience.
  • The caregivers are insured and bonded by the agency. The agency will take care of the caregiver’s taxes, worker’s compensation, and others.
  • They offer a flexible schedule and can send replacements in case of emergency.
  • A full-service agency has a team of professionals to cater to the specific needs of the client.



Perhaps the only con that an agency has is that it’s relatively more expensive than hiring private caregivers. However, considering the benefits that a home care agency guarantees, it’s still a more cost-efficient option.


Risks of Hiring a Private Caregiver

Between private caregiver vs agency, which has more risks? The main risk of hiring private caregivers is that you will have to do the background checks and screening yourself. This means that you will single-handedly check the criminal records, training and seminars attended, certifications, experiences, and other qualifications of the prospective caregiver. 


Checking references and verifying experience are crucial to making informed decisions on whether or not to hire a particular caregiver. In hiring independent caregivers, you have more obligations and responsibilities. Since you directly hire the caregiver, in effect, you become that caregiver’s employer. 


Since there’s only you and the caregiver, you will have to personally manage the private caregiver you hired. For instance, when that caregiver calls in sick or misses work due to an emergency, you won’t be able to immediately find a replacement. You need to have a backup plan when things like this happen. This is another risk of hiring private caregivers that you need to take into consideration when choosing between private caregivers vs agency.



The pros of hiring private caregivers are:


  • They have cheaper rates.
  • You have the last word when it comes to hiring, managing, firing, and such.
  • You can personally verify the experience and background.



The cons, however, outweigh the pros. As already mentioned in the risks of hiring private caregivers, the cons are:


  • It’s difficult to find private caregivers.
  • It is less flexible and offers no backup plan in case of an emergency.
  • It’s time-consuming and stressful to do the screening, hiring, scheduling, and managing on your own.
  • You are liable for taxes, wages, social security, and other state and federal regulations.
  • You need to pay for additional insurance.


Payroll Taxes, Minimum Wage, and Overtime

Before you decide on hiring independent caregivers, bear in mind that most likely, you will be handling the payroll. This means that you will be responsible for reporting the income, taxes withheld, minimum wage, overtime pay, social security, and the like. You will have to brush yourself up with your state’s tax laws to know your responsibilities with regard to the private caregiver you hired. 


On the contrary, an agency will just handle everything, from payroll, taxes, minimum wage, to overtime pay. You won’t have to worry about these things because the agency will comply with the federal and state regulations regarding payroll taxes, minimum wage, overtime, and so on. Hence, in this regard, as between private caregiver vs agency, the latter prevails.

Liability Insurance

When you hire a private caregiver, you need to consider liability insurance. You may need to get additional protection in case of abuse, exploitation, theft, or fraud. Neglect and abuse towards seniors may comprise physical, emotional, sexual, medical, and financial.


In an agency, you will simply have to file a complaint in case things like these happen. The agency will handle the complaints. You won’t have to worry about insurance as well since agency caregivers are insured and bonded. 


Now that you know the differences between private caregiver vs agency, you can better decide which route to take. Carefully weigh your options and make an informed decision. The welfare of your elderly loved one is of paramount importance. 


When you need a reliable agency for your loved one, we at ABC Home Care Agency are always ready to care. We can send a qualified, experienced, and trained caregiver to your home. Please contact us today!