When faced with the realisation that their loved one needs around-the-clock care and support, many feel that the only option is a care or nursing home.
But live-in care is quickly becoming a popular choice for those who wish to stay in the comfort of their own home, while still receiving the care they need to enjoy a higher quality of life.
Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about live-in care; including what the benefits are and how to find the right carer.
What is live-in care?
Live-in care is when a professional carer moves into a person’s home to provide around-the-clock care and support. This can be long-term, short-term, or to provide respite care for family carers in need of a break.
A live-in care arrangement covers things like personal care, companionship, for example, housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, and other domestic tasks, and emotional support – as well as specialist or complex care for conditions like dementia.
Unlike moving into a care home, live-in care allows people to enjoy a better quality of life in the comfort and familiarity of their own home.
What are the benefits of live-in care?
There are many benefits to live-in care. These include…
1. Live-in care allows people to remain in their own home
According to a survey by the Live-In Care Hub, 97% of people would prefer to carry on living at home rather than move to a care home.
Remaining at home saves people the disruption of having to move out of a much-loved home and sell it to fund care home fees.
It can also help people maintain a sense of independence, dignity, and ability to choose; all of which are essential to happiness and wellbeing.
2. Live-in care offers personalised one-to-one care
An advantage of live-in care is the personal one-to-one support provided – something even the very best care home can’t always provide.
When it comes to personal care – including help dressing, washing, and going to the toilet – people are likely to feel more comfortable and dignified receiving help from someone they’re familiar with.
In addition, live-in carers have the opportunity to really get to know their clients and give care based on personal preferences and routines.
3. Live-in care offers companionship
Many people find that having a live-in carer can help combat issues like loneliness and isolation, especially for those who have lived alone for a while.
Research shows that loneliness and isolation are common among the elderly and are linked with a significantly greater risk of various physical and mental conditions; including a weakened immune system and cognitive decline. This study found that social isolation is linked with a 50% increased risk of dementia.
Having someone there to listen, reassure, and chat with can make a huge difference to someone’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. It can also help to take the pressure off of families who worry about their loved ones becoming isolated.
4. Live-in care is flexible and can be built around you
Unlike the timetables and schedules found at care homes, live-in care offers flexibility around things like meal timings and family visits.
This freedom can help people feel more in control because they won’t have to alter their daily routines to accommodate care home life.
5. Live-in care offers peace of mind and reassurance
Anyone with elderly relatives will be familiar with worrying about things such as whether they’ve had a fall or forgotten to take their medication.
Having someone there day and night to administer care can provide invaluable reassurance and peace of mind for both families and those being cared for. Live-in care can also help people maintain a sense of independence by not having to rely on family and friends so much.
6. Live-in carers provide practical help
In addition to personal care, live-in carers also carry out domestic tasks including housework, shopping, washing, and ironing.
7. Live-in carers can provide specialist support and complex care
Many live-in carers are ready and trained to provide specialist care for people with ongoing conditions such as dementia or Parkinson’s. Or, for those who have been discharged from hospital following treatment and require complex care.
8. Live-in care can help people maintain their hobbies
The role of a live-in carer is to ensure that the person they’re caring for is living their best quality of life. This includes helping them to maintain their hobbies, interests, and social connections.
For instance, live-in carers can transport clients to social events, gatherings, and other activities they’re interested in.
9. Live-in care allows elderly couples to stay at home together
Elderly couples who move into care homes with different needs are likely to be cared for in different ways – which may mean spending more time apart, depending on the setup.
Many couples cannot comprehend living like this, having spent so many years living alongside each other. But, live-in care allows couples to remain at home and receive care together.
Plus, because very few care homes offer shared accommodation, instead of having to pay two separate room fees, live-in care can end up significantly cheaper.
10. Live-in care can allow people to keep their pets
The majority of residential and nursing homes don’t allow pets, which can cause distress for people whose relationship with their pets runs deep.
However, live-in carers will also help look after any pets you have. Research has shown that pets aren’t only a mood-booster, but also bring many health benefits including better heart health and reduced stress.
How much does live-in care cost?
Cost is an important part of arranging any type of care. Therefore, knowing your options and what funding you may be entitled to can lift a weight off your shoulders and help you make an informed decision.
Typically, the cost of live-in care in the UK is around £120 to £150 per day, but this will vary depending on factors including where you live, what care is required, and what assets you have.
When it comes to paying for live-in care, the majority of us have four main options. These are…
1. Healthcare funding for live-in care
If someone has complex, ongoing healthcare needs, they may be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) – a care package arranged and funded by your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The term ‘ongoing healthcare need’ covers the treatment, control, or prevention of a disease, injury, illness, or disability, and the aftercare of a person living with these conditions.
NHS CHC is non-means tested and can be used to receive live-in care. The amount of healthcare funding available will be determined not only by your health needs, but also by the location of your CCG.
2. Social care funding for live-in care
If you’re not eligible for NHS CHC, you may still be entitled to some level of care funding from your local authority.
This amount will be determined by a financial means test that takes into account your personal financial circumstances.
The table below explains how much you’ll need to contribute towards the cost of care depending on your capital.
|Your capital||How much you’ll need to contribute towards the cost of care|
|Over £23,250||You’ll need to pay full care fees.|
|Between £14,250 and £23,250||The local council will contribute towards your care, but you’ll need to pay the rest.|
|Less than £14,250|
This capital won’t be included in the financial means test.
The local council will pay for your care.
If you’re eligible for financial support, you can decide whether you’d like the local council to arrange care for you, or if you’d prefer to receive direct payments and arrange it yourself.
If your loved one is unable to manage payments themselves, a ‘suitable person’ – for example, a family member – can be appointed to receive payments on their behalf. You can visit the Citizens Advice website for more information.
3. Further support for live-in care from local authorities
If you’re not eligible for NHS CHC or social care funding, it’s worth considering other financial support that may be available to you through your local authority.
4. Privately funding live-in care
Those ineligible for social or healthcare funding will need to fund their care privately. Live-in care costs are similar to that of care homes, and can be very cost-effective for couples.
There are a few options to consider, but don’t worry if you’re unsure where to start, as we have some more information about this in our article on paying for long-term care here.
How can I find a live-in carer?
Because of the one-on-one nature of live-in care, it’s essential to find the right carer for you or your loved one.
This doesn’t just come down to skill, experience, or background checks. It can also be about personal things like what someone enjoys doing, what type of people they get on with, and most importantly; how they want to live their life
Having a holistic view of your needs or the needs of your loved one is vital to ensure you or they are not only looked after physically, but mentally and emotionally too.
When sourcing a live-in carer, you can either do so through a care provider or by employing someone directly.
Finding live-in care through a provider
There are two different types of live-in care providers: care provider agencies and fully managed care providers.
1. Live-in care through care provider agencies
Care provider agencies can source a qualified carer for you to employ, which can help to reduce costs. However, this brings its own set of responsibilities, as you’ll be left to manage things like carers pay and sick cover.
You can search for registered care agencies on the UK Home Care Association website.
2. Live-in care through fully managed care providers
Fully managed care providers employ full-time staff, train them, provide replacement care workers if required, and handle all employment responsibilities. Reputable companies are regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – and many people appreciate the peace of mind and reassurance this brings.
Alternatively, you can search for other regulated care providers on the CQC website.
Employing a live-in carer directly
If you’d prefer to employ a live-in carer directly rather than through a provider, it’s important to note that you or your relative will take on the responsibilities of an employer – including covering any health and safety risks.
Coming to terms with the fact that a loved one needs care can be difficult. But remaining in familiar surroundings, receiving one-on-one care, and avoiding the upheaval of leaving a much-loved home makes live-in care a popular option for many people.
While it may take time to settle into new rhythms, it’s worth keeping in mind the lasting benefits of live-in care can make a world of difference to someone’s quality of life.
For more information, visit the care section of our website. Here, you’ll find everything from help for carers, to care funding advice.