Live-in care

First published on 23 of March 2018 • Updated 11 of April 2018

If you need permanent care but don’t want to move out of your home, live-in care could be a viable option.

When you choose this comprehensive form of homecare, a care worker lives with you either full-time or part-time depending on your needs. They will be on hand to help you, offering support with day-to-day tasks and providing companionship when you need it.

How does live-in care work?

Live-in care means your care worker can help you day and night. Unless you choose to be, you will rarely be alone. Many care workers are able to drive, so they can take you out and about. They can either drive their own car or you can insure them on yours.

Usually, live-in care workers stay with you for a number of weeks, and then have some time off while another care worker takes over. You will usually see the same care workers, which helps you to build a relationship with them. Some care agencies change care worker every few days, so it’s worth asking about this when you’re considering your options.

Your responsibilities towards your care worker

If a care worker is living in your home, you need to make sure that they can do so comfortably. He or she must have their own room (with plenty of space for their belongings), and also a television and internet access.

Your care workers will also need a few hours off each week to meet the UK’s employment laws, in addition to the periodic breaks when they hand over to another care worker. If you are using a care agency, they will explain more about this.

Live-in care for specialist conditions

If you have specific health condition or disability, you can find a live-in care worker who is qualified to meet your particular medical needs. Many care workers have specialist expertise in these areas and are trained to provide support with things like administering medications, helping you cope with symptoms and recognising when you need medical attention from a doctor or nurse.

When you use a care agency, they will meet with you to discuss your needs and assign the care worker who is most suitable. You should let them know if you have any acute or chronic conditions, such as:

  • Dementia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s
  • Stroke recovery
  • Disabilities

Is live-in care right for you?

The benefits of live-in care

  • Stay at home – it can be easier to keep your independence and hobbies
  • 24/7 support – you’ll have peace of mind knowing that someone can help you all the time
  • Tailored – the care will be based on what you need, and you have more control over it
  • Companionship – over time, you can build a friendship with your care worker
  • Keep pets and relationships – it can be much easier to carry on living with a partner and/or pets

Possible downsides of live-in care

  • Living situation – you will be sharing your space with someone else
  • Risks at home – it may be necessary to adapt your home to make it safer
  • Less sociable – you might have a more limited social life, though a good carer should help you get out and about
  • The cost - see below

How much does live-in care cost?

Live-in care is more costly than hourly homecare, because your care worker is effectively available for you round the clock except when off duty.

The cost also depends on the level of support you need. You are looking at a starting position of around £50,000 per year, and it may be as much as £150,000 a year for specialist care.

Should I hire my own care worker or use an agency?

There are two main ways you can engage a live-in care worker: either go through an agency, or hire one yourself directly. If you hire a care worker directly they may be slightly cheaper, but bear in mind that this makes you (or a family member) the care worker’s employer, with all the responsibilities of being an employer. This can be an additional burden.

You may also find you have less choice if you try to hire directly, as most experienced care workers opt to work through agencies. It is also easier to be sure of a care worker’s credentials this way, as agencies are regulated by the CQC. Unbiased will only connect you to care agencies rated good or outstanding.

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