Live in Care in 2018 – Everything you need to know

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Live in care in 2018 – Your ultimate guide

Live in Care is increasingly becoming a viable alternative to going in to a care home.  In this article we will help you:

  • see if live in home care is the right option for you
  • what options you have to choose a 24 hour live in carer
  • how to pay for your live in care costs
  • the disadvantages to live in care

Is live in care right for me?

There were once only a few options open to people needing care. Older relatives stayed at home with the family, or eventually resided in a hospital or home.

Now however busy lifestyles have changed both how we perceive and deal with care. Whilst unfortunately it’s no longer viable (or preferable) to take care of older family members at home, this new way of living has resulted in lots of interesting alternatives to conventional care provision.

One of these new types of care is 24 hour live in care. This convenient, personal type of care enables people to remain in their own home for longer. Although live in care in only just emerging as a more popular alternative to residential care and sheltered accommodation it’s set to become one of the most favoured choices available because of its ease and flexibility.

In this article we explore live in care provision in more depth to help you determine whether it’s the best choice for you.

What does live in care involve?

Live in care involves a person or a couple of people living with you in your home in order to take care of you. This enables them to look after you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, providing support whenever you need it. Sometimes two or three regular carers will take on the role on a rota basis – perhaps one week on, one week off.

24 hour Live in care is most appropriate for individuals with moderate to mildly severe care needs, including personal care, mobility support and housework. Low-level medical needs can sometimes be catered for by standard live in carers – but many providers do offer specialist live in nursing care, too.

Live in home care is also perfect for people who live alone – as often carers provide much-needed companionship, too. This person can also run errands and take you out to do shopping, have your hair done or attend a doctor’s appointment.

live in care

What are the benefits of live in home care? How do I know if it’s right for me?

There are various clear advantages of live in care behind its increasing popularity. The first of these is the level and quality of care you’ll receive. With live in home care you are guaranteed a dedicated, attentive carer who is always with you and only looks after you.

This means that you’ll get a much higher quality of care compared with someone who pops in now and again at mealtimes and evenings. You can also develop a relationship with a live in carer – something that is especially important if they will be helping you with personal care.

The other important benefits concern family and personal preferences. Live in care enables you to remain in your own home, either indefinitely or for an extended period. This means that partners can stay together and pets can still be kept, both of which understandably improve your quality of life.

It’s also easier for you to keep in touch with friends and maintain an active social life, as if your carer is happy to drive and travel with you they can accompany you to shows, clubs and parties. You may even be able to travel abroad, taking your carer away on holiday with you.

Live in care is also favourable from a relative’s perspective. It offers unrivalled peace of mind, ensuring you know that there is always somebody with your loved one. This can also prevent accidents and can be incredibly important should you or your relative fall ill.

How do I choose a live in carer

In essence there are three options you have when it comes to choosing a live in carer.  You can read more about it in our “How to choose a live in carer” article.  The options are:

  1. Source a live in carer independently
  2. Use a live in care agency
  3. Use a specialist live in care recruitment agency

1- Source a live in carer independently

Many families start by looking for private carers independently, as previously this was the only way to source 24 hour live-in home care provision. Ads can sometimes be placed in local papers or online directories, and carers can also be found through word of mouth recommendations.

2 – Use a live in care agency

Live in care agencies are often specialists in this type of care alone.  However, many traditional domiciliary care providers also often live in care support.

Understandably a lot of work, experience and know-how are required to ensure that you are matched to a carer who perfectly suits your needs. For this reason live in care agencies are regulated by the CQC (Care Quality Commission) and must employ workers who have been fully vetted and DBS checked to ensure that they are able to work with vulnerable people.

Live in care agencies often specialise further, providing certain types of care for different conditions. For example, some live in care agencies only offer nursing care, some provide companionship; others have specific experience with dementia. This should also influence your final decision.

Once you’ve introduced yourself to a number of live in care agencies they should invite you to visit them, or arrange a home visit. They should be interested in finding out all about your care requirements and personal preferences. Then as you progress you should be consulted on who will be administering your care – with a proper introduction and trial period to ensure they are right for you.

If you don’t feel that live in care agencies are for you, you can source a live in carer independently. Private live in carers are still subject to certain regulations, but you should put appropriate steps in place to protect both you and them.

3 – Use a specialist live in care recruitment agency

The third and final option involves approaching specialised recruitment agencies that deal specifically with experienced live-in carers.

They source and match professionals based on the criteria you provide. The main difference between recruitment or introduction agencies and live-in care agencies is that in this instance professionals operate in a standalone capacity – and are self-employed.

What is the cost of live in care?

Live in care can be costly.  Typically costs can start at around £500 per week and can go up to £over £1,500 depending on how many people are being cared for and how many carers are required.

For this reason it’s important to determine your budget and the cost of live in care before embarking on choosing live in care. You can find support on financing care and calculating the cost of your the overall cost of live in care here on the website in our paying for care section. Our handy Care Calculator will give you an accurate guide to work on based on your current health needs and prognosis.

Depending on your requirements live in care is often less expensive than residential care. This is because you are living in your own home and pay for your own food – so the only real cost of live in care associated is effectively the wages of your live in carer.

It’s worth noting however that if you’d like to access live in care as a couple, it may be a significantly more cost-effective option compared with residential care. This is because you’ll only pay once for live in care, but would be required to pay for two places in a care home.

You can get an accurate idea of the cost of live in care when you discuss your requirements with your chosen live in care company.

Using equity release to pay for your live in elderly care

Due to the costs involved for live in elderly care, many people are increasingly using equity release to fund their care.  This is because if you own your own home you are able to borrow a lump sum, tax free against the value of your home.  The loan is then usually only repayable on death or if you move in to a care home.  The most popular types of equity release schemes are:

If you are interested in exploring this option please leave your details on one of our equity release pages.

How much equity release can I get from my home

If you want to know how much money you can take from your home, please use the equity release calculator here.

Are there any disadvantages to live in home care?

Live in elderly care may not be suitable for everyone. If you have very severe care needs you may need to live in an establishment that has been specially set up in order to care for your needs. It’s also key to remember that if your home is no longer suitable for you (lots of stairs, few opportunities for adaptation) you may need to move anyway.

It’s also very important to consider the organisation and arrangement involved in choosing live in care.

Firstly you’ll need to choose the right person (for this you’ll find tips and advice later on in this article). You will also need space to accommodate another person living with you. They’ll need their own private room – and they’ll be using your kitchen, your bathroom and your living space. This shared living arrangement may cause tension – or may not offer enough privacy for you. If living with a stranger is uncomfortable for you then live in care may not be right for you.

As your carer is living with you full time they’ll also need time off to spend time with their own families and for holidays and breaks away. Therefore you may need to find a replacement and source ‘back up’ care whilst they are gone. Agencies should provide a replacement – but if you have sourced a live in carer privately then you’ll be responsible for filling the gap.

Finally, you’ll need to consider budget. Live in elderly care is understandably costly, so it’s worth thinking about how much you have to spend, and how long you’ll need to access the care for. You can find more information about the cost of live in care below.

Where can I find live in care jobs?

With a quick Google search you’ll find you can find live in care jobs in a variety of places online. All main job sites will often post these types of jobs.

However to be able to streamline your search and only find live in care jobs which fit your personal criteria, it’s best to adopt a targeted approach. There are specialist sites (like our UK Care Guide Jobs site) that employers use to find the best people. These directory sites often enable you to request specific criteria, such as location, hours and the types of responsibilities you’re prepared to take on.

Live in care jobs with agencies are often also advertised on the company sites themselves. You can usually find these under the ‘Careers’ section.

Sometimes larger agencies have online application processes and forms – others simply request a CV. Before completing any applications for live in care jobs it’s worth taking a look through your CV and seeing whether you meet the criteria of certain roles. This way you can also apply for jobs adopting a blanket approach, grouping together the roles that require you to fill out lengthy online applications.

Are private live in care jobs any different from standard agency work?

Yes, private live in care jobs are significantly different compared to agency roles. Whilst the role itself and its attached responsibilities remain the same, the way in which you are paid and supported differs.

Firstly you’ll be self-employed, so you’ll be fully responsible for your insurance, taxes and the relationship you have with your client and employer. When you work for an agency you’ll be covered if you are unwell, your pay, tax, insurance and training will be provided, often free of charge. Conversely private live in care jobs require you to cover all eventualities independently. You’ll also be responsible solely if something goes wrong.

Private live in elderly care jobs are sometimes favoured by clients as they feel more in control of the situation and are able to choose you personally and independently. It can also be more cost-effective as agencies naturally add on to the cost of carers’ wages to cover running costs and profit.

However it’s also worth noting that private live in care jobs have drawbacks for clients, too. Notably they need to act as an employer – taking care of paying your wages and carrying out background research, including conducting DBS checks should they wish. Agency roles also provide peace of mind because of the extra training, checks and government regulation carers are subject to.

Where can I find more information?

We have other useful information related to Live in Care below, including options for paying for your care.