Live in care is a popular option when there is an increase in an individuals' care needs.
Unlike a residential care home, live in care means you can stay in your own home, with the support of a care worker 24-hours a day.
A live in carer can assist with any tasks you might need help with, in order to live independently and maintain wellbeing.
Here’s a summary of what we will cover in this article:
- Live-in care might be right for you if you have a spare room in your home for a live-in carer.
- An average price for standard live in care is £1,000 per week for a single person in the UK.
- If you remain in your own home, it will not be treated as an asset during the means testing process.
- Specialised care for more complex needs such as dementia care is available. Nursing supported live-in care is also an option.
What is live in care?
Live in care is a tailored care service, provided in an individual’s own home.
It means that a trained carer will move into their own room within your house or apartment.
The live-in carer will be able to provide 24 hrs-a-day support to help you to live independently.
There are a number of reasons why live-in care is provided.
Such as illness, needing more support as part of old age, or even to convalesce at home after a stay in hospital.
It can also be provided on a short-term basis to provide respite for family members who act as carers.
An alternative to a care home?
Alternatively, a person who doesn’t wish to move into a residential care home may find live-in care ideal.
This dedicated live-in carer can provide any service a carer might be expected to.
In its basic form, they can act as a companion, complete food preparation, or help with personal care needs. This care is like having a helping hand nearby at any given moment.
Carers who've received specialist training are available for more complex needs, such as dementia care or end of life care.
Advantages of live in care
An advantage of live-in care at home is that your routine is not disrupted because you can remain in your own home.
You can continue your hobbies or interests, and have as many visits from family and friends as you like.
With the support of a full-time carer, these might even become more enjoyable.
Even if you live with family, as long as there is a spare room for the carer, nothing needs to change.
Is it more cost-effective?
Live-in care can also be more cost-effective. While you live in your home, the value of your home is not taken into account during a means test.
Sometimes, people sell their homes to pay for residential care. This is less likely to happen while you have live-in care.
Live-in care can also be a less expensive option than residential care, particularly for couples who both need support.
Having a live-in carer with you at all times means greater peace of mind for both you and your family.
Summary of live in care benefits
- Stay in your own home with a beloved pet, family or spouse.
- Peace of mind for yourself, family and friends as you will have round-the-clock support.
- You are fully supported in domestic tasks like cleaning, food preparation and laundry.
- Always have a companion nearby if you want one.
- You can be supported in meal planning and preparation to ensure you are eating and drinking enough, and of what food and drink you prefer.
- Fall risk is reduced as a live-in carer will always be there to help you move around the home.
- Keep up with hobbies, interests or friends in your local community.
Is there a difference between live in and domiciliary care?
In short, yes, there is a difference between live-in care and domiciliary care.
Domiciliary care is generally administered for a few hours per day, and overnight support is not necessarily included.
Domiciliary care, also known as dom care, is paid per hour or a package of hours, whereas live-in care is charged by the week.
Companionship as well as care
Your live-in carer can act as a companion as well as provide domestic or nursing support. They will also be there overnight to support if you need it then.
There’s more info here on carers who sleep overnight.
Domiciliary care is usually administered on an hourly or packaged basis. One carer might visit in the morning to help with personal care needs and to help with taking medication.
Another carer might attend in the afternoon to prepare dinner or help with a bedtime routine. You may see a number of different carers within a day or a week.
This variety suits some people, but others might prefer just to have one person.
There’s more on what is domiciliary care here.
A comprehensive care option
Live-in care is a fully comprehensive care package, provided at the times that you need it, not just at the time the carers visit.
A progressive condition like dementia can be tricky to manage with dom care alone.
Some individuals needing dementia care dislike a disrupted routine, such as having many different carers visiting.
The right level of support is easy to manage with live-in care, even for progressive conditions such as dementia.
You can find a live-in carer trained to support dementia and they will develop your care plan as time goes on.
For people at risk of feeling lonely, having a live-in carer always there to provide companionship, and to help with social engagements, is a great advantage.
When is the time right for live in care?
If any of these points sound like you; live-in care might be the right option:
- Feeling confusion when alone for any length of time.
- Difficulty controlling balance, or any balance issues that increase the likelihood of a fall.
- A recent illness or hospital stay needing convalescence at home.
- Difficulty remaining calm on waking in the dark. Getting up and going outside on waking, even if it is night time.
- Getting frequently lost or wandering from the home environment.
- Not taking medication, nutrition or hydration frequently enough.
- Upset at a frequent change of care staff or family members.
- See more here on what are the early signs of dementia.
What is included in live in care?
Here’s a summary of what you can expect to be included in live-in care:
- Companionship: Someone to chat to if you want, have a cup of tea with, perhaps even play a game with.
- Personal Care: Bathing, getting dressed and undressed, self care in general, and toileting support is available
- Housekeeping: Your carer will do laundry, some light cleaning, and keep your home as you like it.
- Dietary support: Your carer will plan a menu, shop for groceries and prepare balanced meals for you.
- Feeding assistance: If you need it, your carer will be able to help with feeding and hydration needs.
- Mobility help: You can still get out and about to your hobbies and commitments with your carer’s support.
- Complex Care: For more complex needs, nurse supported care is available
- Specialist dementia care: If needed, a dementia specialist carer can be assigned to you.
What do I need to provide for live In care?
Your home will need to have a spare bedroom for the live-in care provider to stay in.
They will need some storage for clothes and personal belongings. Naturally, access to a bathroom and a kitchen will be necessary.
As your care worker will be living with you, they will likely eat their meals with you.
Also as they support you to spend your leisure time, they will be with you as you do this. You might be together watching the tv, reading, or even out in the garden.
The carer will generally have a two-hour break daily, but other than that will be with you all day. (Please check the conditions of the care company you are using for further details.)
They will also be nearby at night, should you need them.
Do I need to provide food for live in care?
You will need to pay for your care worker’s food each week.
This can be an additional small payment per week, to be paid directly to the carer.
The carer will then purchase their own food. If you prefer, you can buy additional food during your own grocery shop to accommodate your carer.
Is live in care right for me?
Live-in care is a good option if you want support to live independently, and don’t want to leave your home.
If you need more assistance than you can get from domiciliary care, live-in care might be the right choice.
Perhaps you have some mobility issues that mean independence is difficult, but you remain active in your community.
A live-in carer could return your freedom by aiding your mobility.
A good solutions for couples
Live-in care is also a good solution for couples who prefer to remain together, but need support to do so. It is often a less expensive option than two people moving into a residential care home.
It might also be the most appropriate solution if family has been supporting you, but this is no longer an option.
This could be because they are going on holiday, moving away, or their family needs have changed.
Either for respite care or for the long term, live-in care could be a good option for your whole family.