Choosing homecare: Where do I start in finding the right agency?

Things to take into account when you’re looking for the right agency to provide homecare.

‘I have dementia and the council has assessed me as needing support at home, but my savings mean I need to find a homecare agency myself. Where do I start?’

Finding homecare – also known as domiciliary care – can feel overwhelming. It may be difficult to know where to start, but thinking about the type of care you need is a good first step. 

A homecare worker supporting a person with dementia

Think about the type of care that you need

What, when and who 

Homecare could involve a combination of personal care (such as washing), preparing meals, companionship, healthcare needs or cleaning and other help around the home. 

Think about how often and when you need support. For example, if you need help showering and you like to shower in the morning, it’s important the agency can support this. 

Look for local homecare agencies and create a shortlist of two or three. You may want to focus on agencies with experience of supporting people with dementia. 

The regulatory body where you live will have details of agencies – this is the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority in Northern Ireland, Care Quality Commission in England or Care Inspectorate Wales

The UK Homecare Association can also help. 

Useful questions 

When you contact agencies, you may want to arrange a meeting to find out more about how they work and how you feel about them. Questions could include: 

  • What training do their care staff have? Would you have the same carer(s)? Can you specify whether you’d like a female or male carer? Can you meet the carer(s) before they start? Do they keep notes, and can you see these? 
  • Will there be a care plan to meet your needs? How often will they assess your needs? How would they manage a change in needs? Are they able to meet any religious or cultural needs that you have? 
  • Are their costs based on an hourly charge? Are there a minimum number of hours? Do they charge more for weekends and bank holidays? Are there any additional charges? 
  • Does the agency have insurance? What is their complaints process? What do they have in place for unexpected events, such as staff sickness? Can you change carers? Is there a trial period, and how long is it? 

What next? 

Once you’ve found an agency that you’re happy with, you can agree a start date.

It’s a good idea to monitor how things are going – you may want to read notes made by care staff and arrange regular contact with the agency. 

Dementia together magazine: Feb/Mar 19

Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
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My husband has Alzheimers and is in care but they say they cannot look after him anymore as he has episodes of shouting at people and can be verbally aggressive. He climbed into bed with a patient at the home. We are so worried as the only home that will accept him is 40 miles away and I do not drive so would rely on my son to take me. He works full time so weekends are the only option. I do not walk well due to knee and hip problems so buses, even if I could get one, would be very difficult for me. Any advice please.

Hello Mary,

We're really sorry to hear this, it sounds like such a difficult situation to be in. Please know that you aren't alone, and we're here for you.

We'd recommend calling our support line on 0333 150 3456 to speak with one of our trained dementia advisers. They will listen to you and provide specific information, advice and support that's relevant to your situation. You can find more details about the support line (including opening hours and other methods of contact) here:

You might also find it helpful to join our online community, Talking Point. Here, people affected by dementia share their experiences, and offer advice to those going through similar situations. You can browse topics within the community or sign up for free:

We hope this helps for now. Please do call our support line if you need advice or support.

Alzheimer's Society website team