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What is Overnight Home Care for the Elderly?

Elderly live-in care can come in many forms, and depending on the needs of the individual, a service that may be required is overnight carers. Overnight care at home differs slightly from other kinds of care available.

This guide to overnight home care should answer any questions you have, so you can make an informed decision based on what’s right for you or your loved one.

What is overnight home care for the elderly?

Overnight home care is offered with most live-in care arrangements, as a live-in carer for the elderly will be on hand to provide support to an individual during the night-time hours, usually between around 9pm and 9am. 

Care requirements do not stop during the night. Since getting a good night’s sleep is a fundamental requirement for all, knowing that there is a trusted and supportive overnight sleep in carer on hand can be especially reassuring and beneficial for the individual being cared for. 

What is included in overnight live-in care for the elderly?

Overnight carers for the elderly can offer support with any care duties that are required during the night.

This may typically involve:

Helping individuals take medication on time

  • Creating a comfortable environment for a person to sleep in
  • Helping with incontinence care needs, helping individuals to the toilet, which can sometimes be disorientating in the middle of the night

For those individuals living with dementia, it can be a particularly confusing time. Having an overnight carer on hand to provide support can be reassuring for loved ones.

It is worth noting that if your loved one required constant attention at night from multiple carers, a care home may be more suited.  If you are choosing between an elderly live-in carer and a care home, this guide can help you: Live in care vs care home

Sleeping vs Waking Overnight Care

There are typically two different types of overnight care that can be provided. 

Sleeping overnight care

Sleeping overnight care is when the overnight carers sleep at the property for a minimum of eight hours, but is on hand to provide any care, companionship, or other support if necessary.

A dedicated night time carer can be a particularly helpful option if the individual being cared for tends to not have regular care needs, but finds themselves feeling more settled and comfortable knowing that there is someone there to provide input, should they need.

Benefits of a comfortable night’s sleep are plentiful, including generally feeling more rested, which can help with general health and anxiety. If an individual needs assistance twice or more throughout the night, then an overnight carer is usually considered.

Waking overnight care

Night carers for the elderly will be on duty for a minimum of eight hours throughout the night and will be able support individuals with various aspects of care needs. For instance, an individual may need to get up to use the bathroom multiple times during the night, or they may require frequent medication administration, but they may struggle to do these tasks by themselves. A waking night carer would be by the individual’s side for the duration of the night so that they are able to assist with these tasks.


How does overnight home care differ from live in care? 

An overnight sleep in carer is on hand during the night-time hours only. Depending on the type of care your loved one needs, they may only visit for nighttime hours. They will likely commute to work from their own home. This arrangement allows for the same overnight carer to be on duty for more than about a week at a time. Elderly overnight care can differ from live-in care in that an overnight sleep in carer will be supporting the individual throughout the daytime and be on hand during night-time hours, just in case.


A live in carer may not be needed for overnight care if your loved one is independent and able to manage bedtimes on their own. In this case, live-in carers will not be required during the nighttime, with the resident able to sleep soundly. However, an overnight carer can be on hand to assist with needs should your loved one wake up unexpectedly during the night.

Is overnight care for me?

There may be various reasons as to why overnight care is considered suitable. Sometimes, overnight home care for the elderly evolves from an individual becoming more reliant on having a care professional’s help during the daytime which naturally progresses to a need for support during the nighttime. At other times, night-time support is identified as an important part of the individual’s care needs early on since an individual may need more assistance during these hours.

Why would I need overnight carers?

Some of the most common reasons why individuals might need overnight care are as follows:


Dementia is a progressive illness that affects a person’s brain functioning. There are many different types of dementia, but typical symptoms of dementia can include memory and communication difficulties. For this reason, waking in the middle of the night can be very disorienting, which may lead to tripping and falling. For those living with dementia who live by themselves, waking up alone can be distressing for some people.  At times, people with dementia may also experience broken sleep patterns and problems with sleep-wake cycle. This means that they may be sleeping in the day and being awake throughout the night, so night carers for the elderly may be needed to help the person to be safe cared for. Having an overnight carer can be a great way to support individuals with dementia but it can also be beneficial for family members by providing them with peace of mind that their loved ones are in safe hands.

Bladder issues

As we age it can be common to have urinary incontinence and overactive bladder function. This often means frequent trips to the toilet which can cause disrupted sleep at night. Night carers for elderly people can support these bathroom trips and help to reduce the likelihood of falls


Taking medication on time is an essential part of a healthcare routine and can sometimes be forgotten if medication type and/or dosage have recently changed. Overnight carers can support and remind individuals to take their medication before bed and upon waking-up and take away the anxieties and responsibility that may be experienced.

Mobility issues

It can be difficult to get into and out of bed if mobility is limited and therefore overnight carers can be essential to be on hand to help get in and out of bed during the evening, night and morning hours.

Lowering the risks and falls of accidents

Many of us can lose our balance when we first wake at night. In particular, older people and those with dementia may be especially vulnerable to this, which means live-in overnight care can reduce the risk of injury.

You can speak to our team of experts to establish the best possible elderly live in care plan for your loved one today. 

How much is overnight care at home?

Depending on where you are in the country, the price of overnight care will range from around £144 to £160 for 9 hours. Waking night care is between £180 and £200 per 9-hour stint. Similar to other types of care, night carers for the elderly can vary in costs depending on the needs of your loved one, the type of care provided and where your loved one lives.  For a live-in carer, they may be able to offer support at night but they will need to take time off during the day so this will need to be arranged so that the carer is not spending all their time at work but is given breaks. If your loved one requires more intensive care then two carers or a residential care home may be more suitable, which will incur greater costs.

Can a carer stay overnight?

Overnight home care for the elderly is when a carer comes into the home to provide support to an individual during the night-time hours (usually between 6pm and 6am). Just because it is nighttime, it does not mean that care requirements stop. Getting a good night’s sleep is a fundamental requirement for all so having a carer come in during these hours can be beneficial in terms of knowing that there is a trusting carer on hand who can support your loved one. Overnight carers are brought in for just the nighttime hours but they can also be part of a 24-hour care package and include carers in the day-time too. 

What does an overnight caregiver do?

Overnight carers can support your loved one with a variety of different things that may arise during the night hours. Typically, it can involve ensuring your loved one takes their medication on time if this is late at night or early in the morning. They can also create a comfortable environment so that your loved one can sleep more peacefully without worrying about challenges that may arise during the night. As we get older, we tend to need to use the bathroom more at night and a carer can support us in getting to the bathroom during darker hours that can be disorientating.

This is particularly helpful for those people with dementia who may be prone to confusion or those who have mobility difficulties and may struggle to get to the bathroom by themselves. For those with dementia, a night carer can be a great way to support your loved one if they wake during the night and become disorientated which may result in tripping or falling. Waking up alone can be distressed for someone with dementia so it is helpful to have a carer by their side.

An overnight sleep-in carer is a carer that tends to live in the property with your loved one and provide care at varying times during the day or night but they do require a minimum of eight hours of sleep and require breaks. This is because it is not feasible to ask one carer to manage both the day and night routines since they will be too exhausted. If your loved one will benefit from having someone within the home during the night-time hours but they do not often need a lot of support during the night, then a live-in carer can be a good option. However, if your loved one is needing assistance more than twice a night then it can be better to have a waking overnight carer who can stay up during the whole night, in case anything arises. They can stay by your loved one’s side and will able to assist when they are needed.



Benefits of overnight home care for the elderly

Comfort and security 

The benefits of elderly overnight care include reducing the likelihood of falls, offering support during the nighttime hours in terms of both security for you and your loved one, as well as helping with getting in and out of bed if the bathroom is needed. Quite often, an overnight carer is needed following a surgical procedure such as a hip replacement when your loved one may be having difficulty with incontinence and reaching the bathroom, since mobility may be reduced.

Ensures a good nights sleep 

Sleep-wake cycles may be disrupted from medication and therefore, an overnight carer can be a friendly face to help stave off anxiety and concerns during the night-time hours if your loved one is unable to sleep. They can talk with your loved one, get them a warm drink, help to keep temperature well-regulated in the bedroom or offer to put on some calming music. An overnight carer can support your loved one to get a good night’s sleep and evening care for the elderly can help with this as the evening routine can be imperative for sleep.

Helps with eating routines 

A carer can support your loved one to eat at the appropriate time in the evening and also support them with their medication. They can remove anxieties that may keep the person up at night and help make evenings and night-times as comfortable as possible.

How do you determine if your parents need assisted living?

Bathroom breaks 

The main signs to look out for will be an increased need to use the bathroom, which may make them need extra toilet trips during the night, resulting in an increased chance of tripping or falling, due to poor lighting. 

Poor mobility 

Another sign may be that their mobility is reduced and as such, they may be struggling to get themselves up and down from a chair or a bed. 

Any signs of confusion

If your parent has dementia, an overnight carer may help to manage any confusing episodes in the middle of the night and be on hand to keep your parent safe. For those with dementia, it can be incredibly reassuring to have someone there to support them in the nighttime hours when it can be more daunting due to the darkness.

Overnight care is suited to those who are waking up multiple times in the night or if they are a risk for themselves. Sometimes this is part of a 24-hour home care package for those that need assistance round the clock. For others, elderly overnight care can be more of a safety net during the nighttime hours when the dark can bring with it an increase in falls or disorientation. You can easily find out more about overnight care on our website.

What is the difference between 24-hour live-in care and overnight home care?

Overnight care differs from 24-hour live-in care in that a 24-hour live-in carer will be supporting the individual throughout both the daytime and night-time hours, whereas an overnight carer would be on hand during the night-time hours only. 24-hour live-in care is usually only required for those who have dementia or those with more complex medical needs, however, it is within someone’s price range then it can be the most efficient type of care since someone is on hand to help at all hours of the day and night. An overnight carer on the other hand is only offered during the night but this does not mean that they just sit by the bed of the person whilst they sleep, they will often need to help with both the evening and morning routines and support with anything that arises at night.


How we can help

At The Live in Care Company, we can provide experienced and skilled overnight carers for you or a loved one. To start a conversation with one of our friendly team, or to find out more about the types of care we can offer, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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