A person with dementia will need more care as symptoms worsen over time. Problems with memory, thinking, and behavior often present challenges for those with dementia as well as for their family members. Whether the disease is in early or late stages, there are support systems, resources, and services that can help.
While it can be difficult for some to admit they need assistance with care or caregiving, it is okay to ask for help. In fact, when it comes to caregiving, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do.
Explore the tips and resources below to find information about dementia care and local services.
There are many different types of care available depending on the level of help or care you need.
- Day-to-day support can be found through adult day centers and respite services. These options provide short-term care for a person with dementia and allow the caregiver to take a break. Day-to-day support may include supervision, meals delivered to the home, and/or transportation.
- Long-term care in the home may be provided by unpaid family members and friends or by paid service providers and can involve general care or medical care. Home care services often focus on everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and ensuring the person with dementia is safe. Home health care services involve licensed medical professionals and require a doctor’s order.
- Residential care may become necessary as a person with dementia requires more care and supervision than can be provided at home. Assisted living facilities may be able to provide enough support in the early stages of dementia, whereas nursing homes may be more appropriate for people who are no longer able to live safely at home. Continuing care retirement communities are multi-level care facilities that provide living accommodations and health services. A resident can move between multiple levels of care as needed.
- Hospice services provide end-of-life care and comfort for people with dementia and their families. These services can be received in the home or at a residential care facility, hospital, or hospice facility.
Asking for help can be hard, but it is important to understand your limits. There may be people in your life or professionals who can help provide support. Connecting with them is a good place to start.
- Family members, friends, and neighbors can work together to share responsibilities and provide breaks for the primary caregiver.
- Geriatric care managers are professionals who can suggest needed services and help you get them.
- Health care providers of a person with dementia understand the disease and level of care needed and can offer recommendations on how to meet those needs.
- Mental health or social work professionals can provide emotional support and help develop plans to manage caregiver stress.
There are many places that offer resources and support for people with dementia and their caregivers. These include:
- Community resources, such as faith-based organizations, your local Area Agency on Aging, and local chapters of the Alzheimer's Association
- National nonprofit organizations, such as the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, Lewy Body Dementia Association, Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center, Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, and National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices
- Local and state government or tribal social services and programs, which can be found through the Eldercare Locator or the Indian Health Service
- Federal government-funded resources, such as the National Institute on Aging-supported Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers and the Alzheimer's and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
- Paid services, which require personal funds to pay for care
National and local resources can provide information on how to pay for care and services for people with dementia. Some services, such as support groups, may be free, whereas others, such as long-term care, may require payment. Government programs may be able to help with some costs related to dementia care. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) may cover some or all of the long-term care needs of a person with dementia living in the community.
The BenefitsCheckUp, a free service from the National Council on Aging, can assist with finding federal and state benefit programs that may be able to help save money and access care and support. Benefits.gov is another resource that enables you to search for federal benefits.
Whether you or your loved one just needs a helping hand or more formal care, it is important to know that help is available.
Planning for a Future With Dementia
What steps can you take now to prepare for health care, finance, long-term care, and end-of-life decisions?
Explore the resources on this website and linked below to find more information from federal government agencies.
Learn about supportive resources like home care, adult day services, meal services, and hospice care. Also available in Spanish.
View this fact sheet about getting an accurate diagnosis, caring for your family member, and taking steps to improve your family member’s dementia care.
Use this free public service by searching online or calling toll-free to get connected to services in your community.
Use the information on resources and support in this easy-to-read brochure.
Find the basics about long-term care, insurance coverage, and the types of considerations to be made.
Explore programs that may pay you benefits and learn about Compassionate Allowances that help people with certain conditions, including some forms of dementia, get benefits quickly. Also available in Spanish.
Questions? Contact the ADEAR Center
The Alzheimer’s & related Dementias Education & Referral (ADEAR) Center is a service of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health. Call 800-438-4380 or email email@example.com to talk with an information specialist.
This content is provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date.