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 carer.
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 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.
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. For this reason, live-in carers will charge a lower hourly rate than day-time and night-time carers.
Live-in vs care homes costs: Live-in care through SuperCarers starts from £795 per week. 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].
Live-in with SuperCarers vs live-in with traditional agencies: SuperCarers connect people with carers directly, cutting off unnecessary costs and resulting in a better price for care seekers and better pay for care workers. Traditional care agencies charge a minimum of £900 per week in London, with variable costs nationwide.
How much do live-in carers get paid?
Traditional care agencies can often keep a large percentage of what their clients pay, to the detriment of the care worker.
At SuperCarers, we connect families with independent carers directly, which allows us to charge lower fees compared to traditional agencies. This means that the majority of what the client pays goes directly to the carer.
We believe passionately that carers deserve to be paid well by their clients for the work they do, and that the quality of care provided is greatly enhanced because of this.
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
If you are being cared for in your own home, that figure only takes into account any savings, stocks or shares you 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 person 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?
You can quickly and easily find a live-in carer through SuperCarers following these three 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 carer that ticks all the boxes. Call us on 020 8629 1030, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 - Choose a carer: We will match you with the best local carers 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 carer on a number of factors in advance of the care starting. These include:
As a minimum, it is 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 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 carer 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 a 10-hour day, which may not be in consecutive hours.
Live-in care breaks: It is recommended that a live-in carer takes one two-hour break per day on average (outside of their 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 constantly disturbed. On occasions where this does take place, as it can do given the reasonable expected nature of the job, it should not be more than one or two incidents, and these should be for less than 30 minutes each. If the pattern is greater than this, then they should discuss this with their client and agree appropriate compensation, such as:
A supplementary payment of £10 per hour for the additional time worked
Supplementary night care from another carer
What happens when a carer goes on holiday or takes sick leave?
You should ask your carer to agree to any holidays with you in advance and make sure they tell you as soon as possible if they are feeling unwell.
At SuperCarers, you can ask us to find a “back-up” carer for you - something we can do whether in an emergency or far in advance.