Elderly live-in care

As your loved one gets older, there may come a time when they need full-time care.

Home safety can become a serious concern when someone is no longer stable on their feet, with the risk of falling and causing injuries. Conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s can also make it difficult for someone to live independently, remembering meals and medications, and getting around on their own.

This situation can quickly evolve to a point where family, friends and part-time carers cannot cope anymore with the escalating care needs.

In these circumstances, live-in care can be a valid alternative to moving into a care home, allowing your loved one to be cared for in the familiar surroundings of their own home.

Read on to find out more about live-in care, from what it entails and how much it costs to practical tips on how to find the right live-in care provider.

What is live-in care?

With live-in care, a professional carer lives in the same house as the person receiving care, and provides support around the clock.

Live-in care can be a valid alternative to a care home as it enables care seekers to stay in their home and to keep their independence for as long as possible.

Why choose live-in care?

Live-in care is recommended to anyone who needs full-time care but doesn’t want to abandon the comfort of their own home.

Live-in care benefits include:

  • 24/7 care by professional care workers

  • Personal one-to-one support

  • Keep your routines and independence

  • Stay in the familiar surroundings of your own home

  • Family rests assured there is always someone on-hand to help

For more information, read our article about the differences between care homes and care at home.

What do live-in carers do?

People who choose live-in care can have very different sets of needs, and the role of carers under the guidance of the care provider will vary to match their specific requirements.

One of the benefits of live-in care is that it’s ‘person-centred’, meaning that it is tailored to each individual’s preferences and needs.

These are some of the things a live-in carer can help you with:

  • Companionship: carers offer companionship, stimulating conversation, someone with whom to do activities and develop a friendly relationship.

  • Home help: assistance with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, shopping, and transportation.

  • Personal care: including bathing, shaving, oral care, toileting, and dressing. Live-in carers can also assist with mobility, diet management and help with medication (nursing assistance excluded).

  • Staying active: such as supporting less-mobile people by going for a short walk together or helping them to have regular social interactions by visiting friends and relatives.

  • Specialist care: care providers can also help by providing carers specialised in live-in care for dementia, Parkinson’s disease, learning disability, Alzheimer’s and other specialist care services.

How much does live-in care costs?

The cost of live-in care depends on many factors, including the area where you live and the type of support you need. However, you can still compare live-in care costs with the cost of hourly care or moving into a care home.

  • Live-in vs hourly care costs: With live-in care, you provide the caregiver with accommodation and food. As the caregiver is not travelling to and from the home, live-in carers will often charge a lower hourly rate (often quantified in a daily rate) than day-time and night-time carers. Note a live-in carer does not work 24/7 but works a normal working day of 8 to 10 hours (maximum) with plenty of time for rest and breaks.

  • Live-in vs care homes costs: Live-in care starts at around £900 per week depending on the provider and whether they provide wrap-around support including cover for the live-in carers daily breaks. This is a much more affordable alternative compared to the average cost of care homes in London, which is minimum £1,256 per week [Which?, ​Cost of care and eligibility checker​, 2019].

How much do live-in carers get paid?

Traditional regulated care agencies provide a managed service which employs the care worker and they charge a fee for the service as a whole which includes the care workers rate of pay.

Will social services pay for live-in care?

Social care is means-tested, which means ​only the poorest get state help towards their costs​.

The financial eligibility thresholds​ are different across the UK. If your total capital exceeds these amounts, you will be required to pay for your own care. The thresholds are:

  • £23,250 in England and Northern Ireland
  • £24,000 (care at home) or £50,000 (care in a care home) in Wales
  • £27,250 in Scotland

Note that:

  • If you are being cared for ​in your own home​, that figure only takes into account any income (including pension income), savings, stocks or shares and other investments you may have.

  • If you are moving into a ​care home​ the value of your home may be taken into account, depending on your circumstances.

As a consequence, if you choose live-in care, you will be more likely to be eligible for state funding as the value of your home will not be included in the financial eligibility threshold.

For more information about paying for care, download our funding care guide.

Arranging live-in care

If you have never arranged care before, you may not know where to start.

It is indeed a great responsibility to choose the right care provider to support you in your own home, 24/7.

Read on to find out what live-in carers need in order to perform their duties, how much time off they’re entitled to, plus how to find a live-in carer that is right for you.

How do I find a live-in carer?

SuperCarers can help you to quickly and easily find a live-in care provider following these two simple steps:

1 - Tell us what you need: We don’t just want to know what needs to be done. Feel free to tell us what’s really important to you, and we’ll go above and beyond to find a care provider that ticks all the boxes. Call us on 020 8629 1030, or send us an email to liveincare@homeinstead.co.uk.

2 - Choose a care provider: We will match you with the best local carer providers who meet your requirements. Review our shortlist, get to meet the carers, and choose the one that is right for you.

3 - Get ongoing support whenever needed: Enjoy the freedom to manage every aspect of the care independently, but always count on us for any questions or support concerning your carer.

What does a live-in carer need?

Live-in carers live and work in their client’s house. Therefore, it’s the client’s responsibility to ensure they have the right environment in which to live and work.

It’s advised to agree with the care provider on a number of factors in advance of the care starting. These include:

  • Accommodation

  • Working hours

  • Breaks

  • Night-time duties

  • Travel expenses

  • Food

As a minimum, it is usually expected that a live in caregiver has their own bedroom with space to store their personal items, and access to a bathroom. The accommodation should also have access to the internet.

Live-in carers are also usually expected to cook meals for themselves and the person they care for, and therefore they need access to a fully equipped kitchen.

Clients typically include live-in carers in their weekly food shop. If the carer has any additional dietary requirements, this should be taken into account. Also remember to tell the care provider about your loved one’s favourite foods or eating habits, as they will cook for them every day.

We will discuss holidays and live-in care working hours in the next section.

How many hours should a live in carer work?

A live-in carer is not expected to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or be on call for such a period. They should be expected to work on average an 8 to 10-hour day, which may not be in consecutive hours.

Live-in care breaks: You should discuss this with your care provider but it is expected that a live-in carer takes one two-hour break per day on average (outside of their 8 to 10-hour day). Some might choose to accumulate these breaks and take them on a separate day. This may happen if, for example, the home location is such that the carer can’t access the services they may need in only two hours. The live-in carer’s break schedule should be discussed before the care starts to avoid any misunderstandings.

Live-in care nights: A live in carer is in their client’s residence at night but is not on-call or duty during the night. During the night, caregivers should not be regularly disturbed. On an occasion where this does take place you should consult with the care provider to ensure the carer has appropriate rest and if the pattern is greater than this, then they should discuss whether a night carer is required.

What happens when a carer goes on holiday or takes sick leave?

You should ask your care provider to discuss when there are any upcoming holidays in advance and so any cover can be arranged.

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