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lottie logoIf your loved one is in need of full-time care, you might be wondering which option is best.

Care homes and live-in care are two practical solutions for people who need around-the-clock care and support. Both have their advantages and are better suited to different needs and circumstances.

To help you explore these options, we’ve partnered with digital care marketplace, Lottie, to consider some of the key differences between care homes and live-in care.

Lottie is a free service committed to helping families and retirees find the UK’s best care homes and retirement living communities.

What are care homes?

What are care homes

There are three main types of care homes; residential, nursing, and dementia.

The most standard type of care home is residential. Here, individuals receive around-the-clock support from trained care assistants. Care assistants can help with personal care and everyday tasks like eating, washing, and dressing, but they don’t have specialist medical training. Residential care homes are best suited to those who are unable to live independently.

There are also nursing care homes, where qualified nurses can provide specialist medical care alongside personal care. They can include help with anything from wound dressing and monitoring vital health signs to administering intravenous drugs and providing specialist support for physical disabilities.

Lastly, dementia care homes are specifically designed to provide a safe and secure home for people living with dementia. They often have dementia care specialists and can offer one-to-one care where necessary.

To learn more about the different types of care available in care homes, watch the video below…

If you’re unsure what type of care home is best suited to your needs, Lottie is here to help. Lottie’s simple, four-step process is 400% faster than the average care home search. Their team of experts will guide you through the whole process – from researching care facilities and organising viewings to overseeing fee negotiations and welcoming you into your new home.

To find out more, head over to the Lottie website.

Find the UK's best care options all in one place

Not sure where to start when looking for care for your loved ones? Find the UK’s best care options handpicked and vetted by the experts on Lottie.

Lottie’s team of experts will also help you navigate through every aspect of finding the right care.

Find the right care

What is live-in care?

What is live-in care

Live-in care involves having a carer live with you at home to provide ongoing support.

Live-in carers can help with personal care, emotional support, and domestic tasks like cooking and cleaning – and many offer a source of companionship. Some live-in carers are also trained to provide specialist support for people living with conditions like dementia.

For people in need of care but who wish to remain at home, live-in care can be a fantastic option. As such, it’s become a popular alternative to care homes for people who have comprehensive care needs that can be met at home.

Whatever support you need, Lottie can help you find the best home care providers in your local area.

Care home or live-in care – what are the benefits and which is best for my loved one?

Care home or live-in care – what are the benefits and which is best for my loved one

Both care homes and live-in care arrangements come with their advantages. The one that’s best suited to you will ultimately depend on your circumstances.

We’ll cover some of the benefits and key things to consider when it comes to care homes and live-in care below.

1. Remaining at home

If remaining at home is a priority for your loved one and their care needs allow for it, they may prefer a live-in care arrangement.

Live-in care avoids the often highly disruptive and emotional process of moving out of a well-loved, familiar home – particularly for people with dementia.

For couples who wish to remain living together or people who have pets, live-in care may be a more suitable option too. Details such as pets may seem minor, but for many people, these offer additional comfort, routine, and companionship – all of which can have a huge impact on quality of life.

2. Level of care needs

If your loved one needs help with everyday tasks such as cooking, washing, or getting out of bed only, it’s possible that both live-in care or moving into a care home could work. In these cases, the right option will largely depend on personal preferences.

However, if their care needs have made remaining at home unsafe, possibly due to a lack of mobility or unpredictable behaviour, they may feel safer in a care home.

For example, if someone with dementia is potentially dangerous to themselves or those around them, they may need constant around-the-clock supervision. In cases like these, moving into a dementia care home, where there are multiple staff on hand to help, makes more sense than relying on a single carer who may struggle to manage their care needs.

On Lottie’s website, you can browse different care homes available in your area depending on care needs or you can also request a bespoke list of care options according to your needs.

3. Companionship

Research has found that loneliness is a common problem among elderly people. According to Age UK, around 1.4 million older people in the UK report often feeling lonely.

Feeling lonely and isolated can have a significant impact on mental wellbeing – and even affect their risk of developing serious health conditions. This study found that, due to its impact on cognitive function, social isolation may increase a person’s risk of dementia by around 50%.

Both care homes and live-in care arrangements may offer a solution to this problem – though, what this looks like can be quite different.

Unlike care homes, where staff care for multiple patients at once, live-in carers provide one-to-one care, which is often much more personalised. Live-in carers spend hours with those they care for every day, and very often, people form deep bonds. Having a person to listen, reassure, and chat with can make all the difference and help people to feel seen and heard.

However, this doesn’t mean that care homes don’t provide companionship. Many are fantastic at offering clients plenty of opportunities to socialise. Residents are waited on by friendly staff (many of whom are excellent at engaging with clients) and can take part in planned activities like bingo, which are ideal for interacting with others in a casual setting. For some people, socialising in small doses each day is all they need.

Nevertheless, if you’re someone who thrives off close, intimate relationships, live-in care might suit you better. It’s also important to note that people who lack mobility or strength may struggle to attend group activities in care homes, which can increase their risk of feeling lonely.


4. Freedom and independence

Losing independence is one of the most common concerns people have around care – and care homes and live-in care both have advantages and drawbacks when it comes to this. And these will be largely based on what you perceive independence to be.

Some people find it difficult to adjust to a live-in carer moving into their home, and may mourn the loss of independent living – particularly if they’ve lived on their own for a while.

Meanwhile, others find great freedom in no longer relying on friends and family for help, and thrive off of the ability to engage with activities outside their home if and when they want to. For example, live-in carers can help their clients go shopping, attend community events, and visit nearby attractions.

However, care homes can also offer people the independence they’re after. While moving into a care home may cause short-term disruption, many find it to be worth it in the long run.

Care home staff do what they can to create lifestyles for residents that are as independent and inclusive as possible. This includes hosting events and supporting residents to increase their independence in a safe environment.

5. Flexibility and personalisation of care

Both care homes and live-in care can help people manage their care needs. But, due to differing setups, naturally, live-in care can be more flexible and personalised.

The main reason for this is that live-in carers aren’t responsible for multiple clients, which means they can care for people at a time and pace that’s best suited to the individual.

Plus, because live-in carers spend a lot of time with their clients, they often learn about the person, including their likes and dislikes, which can make care more intimate and personalised.

Though, this isn’t to say that care received in care homes isn’t personal – it very often is. In most cases, care home staff care for the same individuals daily, which can lead to strong relationships and a sense of familiarity.

It’s also worth noting that some people prefer a less intimate setup and may thrive off the fact that, in care homes, all meals, accommodation, and activities are pre-arranged, which means they have less planning of their own to do.

6. Peace of mind

Both live-in care and care homes offer significant peace of mind to people receiving care and their loved ones.

Knowing that someone’s on hand to care and help with anything can be hugely reassuring. It can also take a huge amount of pressure off of families. For example, they no longer have to worry about whether a loved one has had a fall or forgotten to take their medication.

7. Care cost

To cover future bases, it’s important to evaluate the cost of care and make sure that care can be delivered long-term.

The cost of both live-in care and care homes will vary depending on several factors – including the level of care needed, whereabouts a person lives, and whether or not you’re eligible for financial support.

Though, generally speaking, the average cost of live-in care in the UK tends to be cheaper than living in a residential care home (when self-funded).

You can find out more about the cost of live-in care and care homes on the NHS website.

Find the UK's best care options all in one place

Not sure where to start when looking for care for your loved ones? Find the UK’s best care options handpicked and vetted by the experts on Lottie.

Lottie’s team of experts will also help you navigate through every aspect of finding the right care.

Find the right care

Final thoughts…

Both live-in care and care homes are good, practical options for people who need around-the-clock support. The right option for you will depend on a variety of factors, including care needs and personal preferences.

Lottie is on hand to help you find the best care for you. Head over to their website for further information and guidance on care.

Alternatively, head over to the care section of our website. Here, you’ll find information on everything from paying for care to the support available for carers.

What are your experiences of receiving live-in care or care homes? We’d be interested to hear from you in the comments below.