Although it’s not something that is always easy to face up to, the reality is that as we age live in care of some sort is going to be needed as we may not be able to do certain things as well as we used to. This could include anything from being able to get up the stairs easily to completing housework and meal preparation, not to mention taking care of ourselves on a personal level. Without the right support, this can pose a serious risk of injury or neglect, among many other issues.
Fortunately, there is plenty of assistance available for those who have additional needs due to age-related conditions or even disabilities. One such option is to get a live-in carer, which as the name suggests involves having care provided within the home of the person so that the individual can remain on their own property while having their personal and living needs met.
Whether you are interested in getting a live-in carer for yourself or for a relative, we’ve put together the following advice so that you can weigh up the best decision in terms of individual need, practicalities and cost to guide you.
Live In Care: An Overview
When someone receives live-in care, it means they have access to a care assistant in their own home 24/7. Although typically, the amount of time a care assistant will perform their duties is between 8-10 hours per day.
The role of the live-in carer will be to support that individual with a wide range of needs both on a personal level as well as domestic tasks and household chores.
There are many reasons why elderly people may opt for a live-in carer versus residential care. However, the biggest advantage is that live-in care provider means the individual can remain in their own space at home while receiving any additional support they may require so that their health, well-being, and dignity are maintained.
Types Of Care Options
- Assisted living
- Care homes
- Hybrid care
- Independent living communities
- Live-in care
- Palliative care
- Temporary care
As you can see from the above list, there are many different types of support available alongside live-in care. The main difference with live-in care is that the person remains in their own home but receives continual care, which may not be an option with another care type.
The individual may struggle with their everyday needs which could be due to a lack of dexterity or cognition function but does not have a life-limiting condition that would require palliative care as an example. For those with more complex conditions and medical conditions, or require dementia care, residential care homes may be more suitable where there is a care team with healthcare professionals on site who have the necessary skills and training to provide specialist care for those individuals.
Instead, live-in care helps to promote the independence of the person in their own home, meaning they do not have to leave their home to receive that additional support, as they would have to if they lived in a care home or moved to an assisted care facility such as sheltered housing, which are other care options that could be considered.
What Does A Live-In Carer Do?
Live-in carers help with personal care and provide services within the home itself. The specifics will differ from client to client, depending on what the individual struggles with.
However, clients and their families will have the chance to specify what help is needed during the selection process to ensure the most suitable care assistant is assigned to the right individual.
There are two main strands of live-in care which are personal care and home help (domiciliary care) which cover a number of different roles and tasks. Here’s an overview of what each service typically includes.
- Attending appointments
- Bedtime routines
- Arranging home maintenance/repairs
- Preparing meals
- Taking care of pets
Live-in carers are expected to follow a strict protocol to offer reassurance to the individual when entering their home, especially for the elderly.
When they first arrive at the individual’s home, they will make their presence known by knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell, audibly announcing their arrival before entering the person’s home. This is to ensure the person is not startled, and that they feel safe in their company.
Often, a live-in care assistant will also need to unlock the front door or enter security codes. They will ensure any keys are kept securely, and pin codes will remain confidential. The individual will also wear an identity badge, and have a plan of what to do if they cannot access the home. In combination, the live-in carer will build up a very close relationship with their client that promotes trust and reassurance.
Why Would Someone Need Live-In Care?
There are a vast number of reasons why someone may need a live-in carer. These can best be identified when the following needs are combined with the desire for the individual to remain at home:
- At the risk of accident, injury, or neglect due to impaired mobility or cognitive function
- Struggling to maintain personal hygiene or care
- Clinically vulnerable including due to isolation or mental health risks
- Unable to manage the home including cleaning, cooking, or general maintenance
- Needs assistance taking medication, attending healthcare appointments, or running errands
- Does not want to have to give up pets that they can no longer care for
Typically, live-in care is associated with the elderly who may have a declining ability to look after themselves and their home due to age-related conditions.
However, anyone of any age that has a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from being fully independent may also require live-in care.
See Related: Personal Safety – Retirement Expert’s top tricks and tips for the safety and wellbeing of the elderly and the retired.
Benefits Of Live-In Care
There are lots of benefits of live-in care, but ultimately it’s essential that the reasons why the individual needs additional support are met with the right type of care.
When selecting a live-in carer, it’s also important to voice these needs so that everyone is on the same page.
In general though, these are some of the top reasons why live-in care is well respected and often a preferred choice over other care types.
Greater Dignity & Independence
Above all else, the loss of independence as we age can be incredibly difficult to deal with both emotionally and practically. In addition, if a person is unable to maintain a good standard of personal hygiene or cleanliness within the home, it can seriously reduce that person’s quality of life, not to mention become a cause of distress for the family, especially if they are not able to keep up with the needs of their loved one themselves.
Having a live-in carer can often provide some much-needed relief to solve issues, and can instantly restore a sense of dignity and independence for the individual. The added support will also mean that when the family does visit, they can spend quality time with their relative, as all of their personal needs have been taken care of.
Reduced Risks Of Accidents
Research by Rospa has shown that those over 65 are at most at risk of severe injury or death due to falls at home. There are untold hazards that lie in our homes, especially if we don’t have the quick reaction times or mobility to be able to avoid injury, get ourselves to our feet quickly, or arrange help should an accident occur.
A live-in carer will not leave the individual unattended, especially when going upstairs, transferring from the bed or any other activity that could pose a danger. Plus, as they are on hand to complete tasks such as making dinner or fetching medication, the individual will also be required to make fewer trips that could have otherwise resulted in an injury.
In the event the individual did have any kind of accident or even a medical episode – there’s someone immediately on hand to call for help.
The Ability To Remain At Home
The thought of moving into a care home can be incredibly distressing, especially for those who feel settled in their home environment. In particular, the person may have sentimental feelings about their family, spouse or even the area they are familiar with and simply do not want to leave.
Live-in care ensures their wishes will be abided by, meaning they can remain at home with familiar surroundings without having to compromise on their safety or wellbeing.
Peace Of Mind
Depending on the cognitive ability of the individual, they may be well aware that continuing without support isn’t safe or practical. At the very least, the family often has concerns that their relative could have an accident, or may become malnourished or neglected without help.
All of these concerns will vanish when someone is keeping a continued eye over the person, and can also contact the family immediately should there be a problem.
Live-In Care Vs A Care Home
The biggest difference between a care home versus live-in care is that the individual will be required to move out of their own home to receive the support they need. However, one consideration is that a care home is a purpose-built facility for the elderly, not just in terms of the building itself, but the available facilities, activities, and support staff.
With a live-in carer, the care and wellbeing of the individual will mainly be down to one care assistant, although they will have the support of their care agency who will oversee their work.
Cost is another aspect to consider, as, with a live-in carer, the cost of accommodation for the individual is not factored in as it would be with a care home costs, which can make live-in care much cheaper.
The final decision will also have to factor in the specific needs of the individual, as if they are particularly complex, or if the home is extremely unsuitable for the individual then a care home may be a better option.
If in doubt, it could be a good idea to tour some care homes and compare this with the level of care that would be available versus live-in care. The safety and well-being of the individual and quality of care must be the top priority in the ultimate decision.
How Much Does A Live In Carer Cost?
The typical cost of a live-in carer ranges from £650 to £1,600 per week, depending on the level of care required. However, local authority funding can help with the financial burden so long as the individual qualifies.
Funding For Live-In Care
If the individual has assets of less than £23,250, then the NHS states they may be entitled to funding for live-in care. However, if the individual owns their own home, they will not be entitled to funding for any care unless moving into a care home.
How To Access Live In Care
Accessing live-in care is going to depend on the above criteria, in that it can only be accessed through the local authority if the individual is below the asset threshold of £23,250. So, if the individual owns their own home, or has substantial savings, live-in care will need to be accessed through a private agency.
In either scenario, the first step would be to contact social services who can then arrange for an assessment to be carried out. Their findings may also determine what help the individual is entitled to. Plus, the assessment will ensure all of the needs of the individual are correctly identified, i.e. mobility issues so that the correct support can be put in place.
Live-In Care Agencies
A Live-In Care Agency provides professional carers and live-in care services. The care cost for a private live-in caregiver can vary. A care assessment will usually fist be taken with the care recipient before they provide a summary of the cost of care. The benefit of using an agency care plan is that they can help with respite care should a substitute carer be required for any reason. You can always check the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure it is a reputable organisation.
How To Choose A Live-In Carer
If arranging your own live-in carer (i.e. your local authority is not arranging it for you or your loved one), then a selection process will need to take place.
Aside from reading reviews of the service and conducting similar research, there are some questions you may wish to ask the agency or individual, including:
- What services do you provide, and what do you not provide?
- How will you choose the most suitable care assistant for my needs?
- What will be the total cost of the care, including any extras?
- Do your carers have previous experience with my specific needs, and what qualifications or certifications do they hold?
- Will the carer visit at the same time slot every day, and what will happen if they are delayed or can’t make it?
- How can I contact your agency during office hours or in case of an emergency outside of office hours?
A live-in carer can provide some much-needed support for an individual who is unable to maintain their own personal care or look after their property due to age-related conditions or mental or physical impairments.
The care assistant will attend the property for a set number of hours each day when this care is not able to be provided by the individual themselves or their family.
Crucially, live-in care provides the benefit of the individual remaining on their own property, which can offer a sense of familiarity and comfort. It can also prove to be a cheaper option versus nursing homes especially, although access to live-in care may be dependent on the available local funding if the individual is unable to finance their own private live-in care.
We hope you’ve found the answers you are looking for in relation to live-in care here on Retirement Expert. If you’d like us to cover any related topics, or want to share your experiences of live-in care, please leave us a comment below.