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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.

This guide will cover:

What is overnight care for the elderly?

What does overnight home care at home offer?

Sleeping vs Waking overnight care

How is overnight care different from live-in care

Is overnight care for me

Why would I need overnight carers?

How much is overnight care at home?

What is overnight home care for the elderly?

Overnight home care is when overnight carers 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 does overnight care at home offer?

2 Overnight carers 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 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.

Sleeping vs Waking Overnight Care

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

This 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 a waking 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 is overnight home care different from live-in care?

Elderly overnight care differs from live-in care (or 24- hour home care as it is sometimes known) in that a overnight sleep in carer will be supporting the individual throughout the daytime and be on hand during night-time hours just in case.

A elderly live-in carer will tend to work for months at a time and will be able to get to know the client’s needs and personality quite well.

An overnight sleep in carer is on hand during the night-time hours only. It is unlikely they will live in with the client. 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.

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 night-time. 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

Dementia is a progressive illness that affects a person’s brain functioning. There are many different types of dementia, but typical symptoms 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.

Additionally, if these individuals 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 sleep in carer stay overnight 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.

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. 

Can a carer stay overnight?


Overnight home care for the elderly is when a carer comes in to the home to provide support to an individual during the night-time hours (usually between 6pm and 6am). Just because it is night-time, 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 night-time 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 awake 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


The benefits of elderly overnight care include reducing the likelihood of falls, offering support during the night-time 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 brought in 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.


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.


Good quality sleep is key to wellbeing and it is a myth that older people need less sleep than those in middle age. Sleep quality may become poorer due to health conditions and requiring the bathroom multiple times a night but elderly people should strive to try and sleep 7 hours a night, on average. 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. 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.


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.


Cost of overnight care at home

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. On average the cost of night care in the UK is around £100-150 per night.


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 may be needed to offer both day-time and night-time care but this will be more expensive. A carer who is an overnight sleep-in carer will cost less than an awake carer. Often live-in carers are more likely to be sleep-in carers as they require a bed at the home of your loved one.


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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