Is Live in Care better than a Care Home?

Thousands of people in need of care are now choosing to access care at home – also known as live in care. But why is it so popular – especially when compared to residential care? There are many differences between the two – most notably the fact that live in care allows you to stay in your own home.

At UK Care Guide we specialise in providing friendly, easy to understand advice on live in care and its benefits.

In this article we explore the advantages of live in care when compared to a traditional residential care situation. We will also share some information regarding suitability and eligibility for live in care. Let’s start with the differences between live in care and residential care.

How is live in care different compared with residential care?

Traditionally the only option available to someone needing round the clock care was a residential care home. But now live in care offers a ‘best of both worlds’ situation – professional, dedicated care administered in the comfort of your own home.

The standard of care you’ll receive will be the same, if not better – but there are several differences to bear in mind. Here are just a few of the main distinctions between the two.

1. Familiar surroundings

The main difference between residential and live in care is your surroundings. Live in care allows you to remain in your own home – and understandably this is one of its most attractive benefits.

It can be particularly helpful for people with dementia, who may become disorientated or confused if moved to a strange setting. This may also mean that you’re able to remain close to loved ones, family and the places and activities you enjoy visiting.

One possible downside is that you won’t have the benefit of lots of people to talk to or planned social activities that are often arranged in a residential home.

2. One-to-one care

In a residential care home a team of staff look after residents, with frequent switchovers and rota changes. Over time it’s likely you’d get to know everyone, but you won’t have the consistency of care that a live in carer can provide.

If you choose to access care at home you’ll have a team of two carers who will get to know you and understand how you like to be looked after. Continuity of care can be comforting, especially for those who struggle with memory loss and confusion.

3. Constant attention

In a residential care home you will have people on hand to look after you 24/7, but there will be times when you might have to wait for assistance. This is especially true in busy, understaffed care homes.

A live in carer is always around to help whenever you need them without delay. You may also feel more comfortable asking for help as their sole responsibility is to care for you.

4. Companionship

Millions of elderly people in the UK suffer from loneliness. This can have a significant impact on quality of life, as well as physical and mental wellbeing. Live in care offers added advantages for those staying at home – namely the companionship that comes with having someone with you 24/7.

They can also run errands on your behalf, help you to keep the house clean, make meals, provide transport and take you on trips and holidays, allowing you to maintain a normal and fulfilling quality of life.

5. Lack of specialist resources and equipment

As care will be administered at home it is usually not possible to have a variety of specialist equipment available as would be the case in a residential care setting. Certain items such as stairlifts, hoists and specialist showers can be installed if you have the funds to do so. This will help you to stay at home for longer.


What are the advantages of live in care? Why might someone choose live in care over residential care?

There are a number of reasons a person might choose live in care over residential care. Here is an article that looks at both the advantages and disadvantages of Live in Care.

Some advantages include:

1. Staying close to family and friends

Sometimes finding a residential home in a location that is close to family and friends can be tricky. It’s especially daunting if you’ve lived in one area for a long time, and like to pop out and engaging in activities locally. Live in care allows you to stay close to the people and places you love, without disrupting your current schedule.

2. Keeping pets

Few residential homes allow pets for health and safety reasons – and leaving behind a beloved furry friend can be incredibly difficult. Live in care allows you to stay with your pet – and your carer can also help you look after them.

3. Dedicated care

One-to-one care is a rarity in a residential home. You’ll have two dedicated carers who will take turns to look after them. You can get to know each other and build valuable trust which helps you to feel more comfortable and confident, especially if personal care and medical attention are required.

4. Couples staying together

When one or both partners suffer from ill health the prospect of moving into residential care threatens to split them up. This can understandably be incredibly stressful, especially for couples who have lived together for many years.

Employing a live in carer allows couples to stay together, and provides welcome respite for the person who has likely been caring for their partner independently for some time.

It may also be more cost-effective compared with both partners moving into a residential home. This is because you’ll pay for just one carer rather than two places or rooms.

Most importantly, live in care allows you to remain at home in the familiar surroundings you know and love. This is perhaps the main reason live in care is favoured over moving into a care home.

Here is a video that we produced that shows you the advantages of Live in Care.

Are there any drawbacks?

As is the case with any type of care, there are a number of drawbacks to consider.

Live in care has many advantages – but the main disadvantage compared with residential care is funding.

There are fewer funding options available, so people accessing live in care must be financially secure and able to pay for it. It’s important to be fully clear on the financial aspect of live in care before making a decision. There’s more information on funding and the cost of live in care below.

Here is a video that looks at some disadvantages to Live in Care.

Is live in care suitable for me?

If you are considering live in care there are a few things you should take into account. Although for most people live in care is preferable when compared with going into a care home, it won’t be a suitable or viable option for everyone.

Firstly you should consult with your social worker, specialist or a medical professional such as your GP.

They will be able to advise you whether live in care could be suitable for you. If you have very severe or specialist care needs it may not be an option – but remember that there are lots of different types of live in care.

Some agencies offer round the clock nursing care, provided you have the correct equipment and set-up required at home.

Specialist nursing care can cover a variety of serious conditions, so don’t be disheartened if you can’t access live in care from a ‘standard’ agency.

What does Live in Care Cost

The second thing to consider is the cost of live in care. Compared with residential care live in care can be costly, as you have someone living with you round the clock. You may also be responsible for expenses and agency fees.

As live in care is considered private you will need to self-fund. This means you should have enough money to pay for the full cost of care, which could total around £700 to £2000 per month. Funding options are also limited because you won’t be able to sell your property to raise capital.

You can read more about paying for Live in Care here.

Equity release schemes are a very popular option for those accessing live in care.

Here is a short video that explains how equity release works.

If you are interested to know how much you could get from your souse, tax-free, try the calculator below.

Pensions and other monthly payments such as benefits can be sued towards the cost of live in care. You’ll need to build an accurate picture of your current situation and consider how much the care may cost long term. You can find more information on funding live in care here.


Where can I find more information?

Here at UK Care Guide we have plenty more information on live in care and its benefits, drawbacks, eligibility and costs. You can find more articles here on our website with details of live in care itself and funding options as well as straightforward advice and support.

Of course everyone’s individual situation differs, so it’s best to consult your GP, specialist or social worker when making a decision. For personalised support you can also contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Age UK.


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