Care at home

Care at home: A complete guide to your care options

If you're looking for care at home it can be quite an overwhelming task to find the right solution for you or your loved one.

You may need round-the-clock care at home, just a few hours a week, or perhaps periods of respite care to give your loved ones a rest.

Care at home comes in many different forms, from hourly care to live-in care, agency arranged or privately employed - it also comes at a range of prices.

Let's take a detailed look at the variety of care at home on offer so you can make the best choice for your family.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • There are many care at home tasks and services on offer, depending on the needs of the person.
  • Live-in care is the most comprehensive, and also the most costly.
  • Domiciliary care is usually hourly paid-for care. This can be as little as a couple of hours a week, up to just short of live-in care.
  • Nursing care is also on offer for people in need of medical intervention in their home.
when should someone with dementia go into a care home

Who needs care at home?

People of all ages can need care at home at some point in their lives.

This care can cover many tasks if maintaining full independence at home has become a little tricky.

For instance, if you’re an older person with mobility issues or experiencing some frailty you might appreciate some home care visits.

This might include cleaning and housework, perhaps posting letters or picking up library books.

Or an element of companionship may be important if you find it harder to get out and about than you used to.

A carer might accompany you or your loved one to social events, and support you in travelling there and back. 

Care at home for dementia

People living with dementia may need support in order to live at home safely as the disease progresses.

When cognitive function reduces, people needing dementia care can forget to wash, eat or drink enough, or perhaps remember to turn off the stove.

But support from carers can prolong the time a person with dementia can stay in the comfort and familiarity of their own home.   

Care at home for a terminal illness

People diagnosed with a terminal illness may also need care to support them through their illness.

This could include nursing care at home, as well as personal care, or companionship care.

Specialist hospice care is also available at home. 

Once someone has acknowledged that they need help in their daily tasks, they may consider moving into a residential care home.

But having a home care service can be a more cost-effective and more comfortable option for some people.  

Need help with care funding?

Free Care Funding Guide Download

What can care at home involve?

The list of home care tasks is almost inexhaustive and can include ad hoc tasks as needed.

Really, it is any service provided by a trained carer in your own home that supports you.

The aim is to aid you in living independently at home for as long as possible. 

There are common themes and tasks that carers perform.

Care at home for a terminal illness

What sort of care at home is available?

Domiciliary care or hourly care is frequently chosen as an option for home care.

It is somewhat flexible, and you can spend your care budget on the tasks that are most essential.

A care plan will be formulated, and carers will attend to perform those particular tasks at prearranged times. 

Live-in care is of course, the most expensive option, but it also provides the most comprehensive care package.

A dedicated carer gives personalised care 24-hours-a-day.

Live-in care is ‌useful for those who get up a lot at night, and may find themselves disoriented in the dark. 

An agency can also arrange temporary care in cases of respite or emergency care needs.

This could be when a primary carer goes on holiday, or is unwell and unable to perform care as usual.

how to care for person with dementia (1)

Does respite care count as home care?

Respite care is a short-term solution to relieve any family or friends providing care to you or your loved one.

When a primary carer needs a break, using carers or a care home can allow them some time off from caring duties to recharge.

This ensures that the person who is being cared for still receives the care they need, even when their primary carer is unavailable.  

You can arrange respite care through a daycare centre, a hospice, a care home, or through home care visits. 

You may choose to arrange respite care visits regularly, in order to give the primary carer plenty of breaks.

Alternatively, a live-in carer could be a good option to provide care while the primary carer is on holiday. 

Does my carer live with me?

They can, but they don’t have to.

If you have a spare bedroom with capacity to store someone’s belongings, you can have a live-in carer stay in your home.

These carers can be found either privately or through an agency. 

A privately sourced carer might have an arrangement whereby they work on a three weeks on, one week off schedule.

If an agency has arranged the situation, you may ‌have continuous care from a series of carers. 

Don’t forget the food

Remember that 24 hour carers will need to have food provided for them.

You may choose to have a larger grocery budget to accommodate their needs.

Alternatively, you may prefer to pay them a food supplement of around £30-£40 per week so that they can buy their preferred foods. 

Usually, a live-in carer will cook for themselves and the person they are caring for. Often, they will also eat their meals together if this is amenable to you both.

Domiciliary or hourly paid carers will not need any space of their own or to live in with you.

They will instead visit at prearranged times to perform prearranged tasks.

Paying for care at home

How do I pay my carer?

This will vary depending on the arrangement you have with your care at home provider.

If you have arranged care through an agency, either hourly paid or live-in care, then you pay the agency.

This might be for the hours that the carers have worked, or for the package deal you have arranged. 

If you have arranged for care privately, then you will need to pay your carer or carers directly.

You may also need to pay National Insurance and pension contributions for your staff if you are an employer. 

And remember to take insurance into account, to cover any potential incidents.

This might include your carer getting injured while in your home, or being unable to work through illness. 

Confused about care funding?

Free Care Funding Guide Download

Can I get any financial assistance for care at home?

There may be financial assistance available for paying for home care.

When you have your initial care assessment through the local authority, you will also have a means test.

The care assessment covers how much care you need and of what type.

The means test investigates who should pay for it and if you qualify for a personal health budget

This will be quite personal to each individual and will depend on how much income, assets and savings you have.

If you have less than the lower financial threshold you can get local authority funding for care in your own home.

It is important to get a full financial assessment done with your local benefits team. This will assess if you are eligible for any benefits to help pay for your care. 

There are also benefits available for anyone who acts as an unpaid primary carer.

For example, if a partner cares for their spouse, they should have a carers assessment done.

This will reveal what help their situation entitles them to. These benefits might include financial help, state benefits and respite care. 

Good luck finding the right care at home for you or your loved one.


Find a carer today

It’s easy to find a carer who can help you or your loved one stay independent at home for longer.

Just use the Sweet Pea care matching service. All you have to do is enter your care needs and we’ll do all the hard work for you!