5 Signs That You Need to Consider a Night Care Assistant

Chris Williams
May 4, 2023

A night care assistant is a professional carer who stays with your loved one in their home overnight. The night care assistant can support your loved one with a variety of tasks, such as helping your loved one get in and out of bed, personal care, and medication administration. Night care is usually split into two categories: Sleeping Nights and Waking Nights. This blog post will explain the difference between a sleeping and a waking night service, and will also describe 5 common signs that you need to consider getting a night care assistant.

Sleeping Night vs Waking Night

A sleeping night is where the care assistant supports your loved one in the evening and then sleeps in a different room in their home before helping your loved one again in the morning. This type of service is offered to people who are worried that an accident might happen at night or need occasional help during the night. If you need help during the night you can call for the night care assistant and they will come to support you. Alternatively, you can set up an alarm system (baby monitors are an excellent substitute) to alert the carer that you need some help.

A waking night is similar but the care assistant does not go to sleep during the visit. This service is best for people who get up multiple times in the night or for those who can’t call out for help and need a care assistant to act quickly in an emergency. For example, to administer medications to treat a seizure. Depending on your needs, the carer will either stay in your bedroom with you throughout the night or the carer will spend the night in a nearby room. This service is also an appropriate substitute for sleeping night service for those who don’t have a spare room for the carer to sleep in.

1. Regularly going to the toilet during the night

One of the most common signs that you need a night care assistant is that your loved one is getting up multiple times in the night to use the bathroom, also known as nocturia. Nocturia has been shown to increase the risk of falls by 20% and risk of fractures by 32% among elderly people. This is largely due to it being easier to trip in the dark and dim light than it is during the day and in brighter light. Falls and fractures are the most common cause of hospitalisation amongst elderly people and can often lead to further complications. If a night care assistant is present to help your loved one go to the bathroom during the night it will help reduce their risk of falls and fractures and ultimately help reduce their risk of hospitalisation.

2. The primary caregiver isn’t getting enough sleep

This is another very common reason for needing a night care assistant. If your loved one’s primary caregiver is getting up regularly every night to support them then their caregiver won’t have enough sleep to perform well and your loved one’s care will be compromised. This is true for professional caregivers and informal caregivers, such as friends and family. Professional live-in care assistants are required to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, although most carers acknowledge there will be odd occasions where they will need to provide some support at night. If a live-in care assistant is waking up regularly to support your loved one they will likely ask you to find a night care assistant to ensure they can continue to do their job safely.

3. Wandering at night

Wandering is a symptom of dementia and it can often happen at night. Patients with a dementia diagnosis usually wander because they are frightened, over-stressed, or feeling abandoned. All of these feelings are heightened during the night and so it’s common for wandering to only happen at night. Many families believe that their only option is to place their loved one into a care home when they start displaying this symptom, but that isn’t the only option. Night care assistants are trained to provide dementia care and they can help ensure your loved one is safe and does not wander out of the house during the night time.

4. High-risk of seizure or stroke

Several medical conditions require a trained healthcare professional to be present while a person sleeps. You will require a qualified nurse in the rare cases where symptoms might need to be treated with emergency intravenous medication, but in all other cases, a trained night care assistant can provide the necessary care. In many cases, family members first support loved ones with these types of conditions but by organising a nighttime care service the family members can allow themselves to rest and maintain other commitments.

5. Anxiety or depression

An elderly person who lives alone can find it frightening to sleep in an empty house at night. Your loved one might worry about how they would escape during a fire or what they would do during a burglary. They may also feel lonely living on their own and loneliness has been shown to increase the risk of dementia by about 50%, stroke by 32% and heart disease by 29%. By organising night care your loved one will feel less lonely and less anxious staying in their house at night.


Night care assistants can provide either sleeping night services, where they sleep in a spare room in your loved one’s home, or waking night services, where they will remain awake throughout the entire shift. Organising nighttime care can have improved health outcomes for elderly people, particularly those with nocturia, those with dementia, those with a high risk of seizure or stroke, and those with anxiety or depression. A night care assistant may also be essential if you’re loved one’s primary caregiver is not getting enough sleep because they’re waking up regularly during the night to support your loved one and compromising the safety of the care your loved one receives.

Frequently Asked Questions

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