Date Revised:

This is part of the Carers Road Map online guide for anyone who cares for someone with dementia and wants to know more about different types of care options.

Having information and advice on all types of care options, eligibility criteria, and how to access them, will give you the confidence to request the right type of replacement care at the right time.

The health and care system can be complicated so it’s a good idea to get information about what’s available and to start making decisions early on about the best type of care for you and the person you care for.
The main types of care options are:

  • Domiciliary, (usually referred to as home care), which can be delivered to the person you care for in their own home.
  • Residential care homes, or residential nursing homes, where the person you care for can stay either short term or long term, when it becomes their permanent home. 
  • Extra-care sheltered housing, which offers more independence than a care home. Residents live in small flat, but meals and care staff are available on site.
  • Other options for care and support, including shared lives which is family based and small scale ways of supporting adults. See Shared Lives Plus.

When planning for a move it is important to understand the needs of the person you care for and where they will be best met. For people with young onset dementia finding a suitable option can be harder and you may have to look further afield. Age UK has some useful information on possible housing options for later in life. See alternatives to home on Younger Dementia UK and housing choices on Age UK.

Paying for care options 

Paying for care can be complicated, so it is important to get information and start planning early on. You can call a local carers or dementia service for advice or look on your local council website under adult care services. 
The two critical points to remember are that:

  1. Health costs are met by the NHS.
  2. Care needs are met by the local authority and are means tested. 

Sometimes, especially with dementia, the lines between health and care support can be blurred. The simplest way to think about it is, care needs include things like washing, dressing and being able to attend social activities. Health care is an intervention which requires a health professional such as a nurse, doctor or physiotherapist to carry it out. 
If the person you care for is eligible to have their care all or partly funded then it can be delivered in three main ways: 

  1. As a service, for example someone attending a day centre, or home care organised by the local authority.
  2. As personal care budgets in the form of a direct payment, so instead of receiving a service from the local authority you receive the equivalent in money, which you can use to arrange your own service.
  3. As a combination of both a service and a direct payment.

People who are assessed as having to pay for their own care, can still choose to have it organised by the local council.
If a person’s medical needs are extremely high NHS continuing healthcare is a package of care arranged and funded solely by the health service in England, it has strict criteria. 
Personal health budgets were introduced in 2014 and at present apply to a small group of people, however the Government wants to extend this choice to more people in the future.


  • Look into housing and care options as soon as possible. See housing choices on Age UK.
  • Plan early for future care needs. 
  • Contact your local carer service for information on what is available in your area.
  • Ask the GP or consultant what level of care is needed before you look for a residential home.

Next in the Carers Road Map guide: When the carer needs emotional support and/or a break from caring