As live in care is being considered by an increasing number of people each year, more of us are asking the question: ‘What does a live in carer do?’
The answer isn’t straightforward – but that’s actually good news. Live in care is incredibly versatile – so it’s a great option for a wide variety of people with differing care needs. This means that the responsibility of a live in carer are varied and can be extensive.
In this informative guide we’ll run through the main responsibilities of a live in carer. We’ve divided them into simple, easy to understand categories, so you can easily see which one best suits your needs.
Here is a short video that explains what a live in carer does.
We’ll start with the lowest level of care, progressing up to more specialist or serious care needs.
Lots of people employ live in carers to assist them with basic care needs. They are independent and may not be seriously ill, but feel they need company and low-level support in the home. Sometimes these people have long-term illnesses or disabilities which mean they require additional support with basic everyday tasks.
For people with mobility issues or memory loss simple tasks such as doing the laundry can become difficult. A live in carer can take your laundry and dry cleaning to be done elsewhere or help you to do it yourself at home. You needn’t lose your independence – your carer will support you rather than doing it for you if you wish.
Cooking becomes a chore as we get older, especially for people who live alone. The incentive to cook a meal for one is often lacking – and many older people suffer from malnutrition as a result. A live in carer can cook with you or for you, ensuring you eat properly each day and don’t rely on unhealthy or non-nutritious fast foods.
If you need to buy a gift for someone, go to the bank or run an errand your live in carer can do this for you or provide transport. This makes running errands quick and easy.
Food shopping can be tiring – and without transport many older people struggle to do a big shop. Your live in carer will do your food shopping on your behalf or come with you to help with the heavy lifting.
Most live in carers and required to have their own transport and a full driving licence, so they can take you where you need to go.
Elderly people are especially vulnerable to loneliness. A live in carer provides companionship – someone to talk to, someone to accompany you on days out.
A live in carer can help you to keep your house clean and tidy and take care of everyday household chores, such as taking the bins out or washing up.
This kind of care is most common. It involves a mixture of basic care needs and more specialist assistance.
Personal care is an umbrella term that covers a variety of things including help going to the toilet and having a bath. You only need to access personal care when you are unable to do it yourself.
Most caregivers can help you to take basic medicines, such as tablets, and remind you when to take them. Some may need special clearance for certain types of medicine such as creams and injections.
A live in carer can help you to get up in the morning and get washed and dressed, and help you go to bed at night.
If you struggle to eat and drink a carer can prepare special meals and sit with you to make sure you are eating and drinking enough. They can also work with you to find ways to make eating and drinking easier – such as straws, special cups and finger foods.
Where incontinence is an issue carers can help you to stay clean and fresh at all times. They can monitor you and change you, cleaning up when needed.
This kind of care is almost exclusively handled by a registered nurse or specialist caregiver.
Some medications need to be administered by somebody trained and vetted to do so. Specialist caregivers can handle this – especially if different medications need to be taken throughout the day at specific times.
A specialist live in carer can change, check or alter dressings on a regular basis if needed – making sure any sores or wounds are kept sterile, clean and dry.
Caregivers usually need professional training to work with specialist equipment and medical aids such as catheters, needles for injections and colostomy bags. There are live in carers who are qualified nurses who can take care of this for you – so you can remain in your own home and get on with daily life without worrying about waiting in for medical staff.
A specialist live in carer can work together closely with your team of medical professionals and social care professionals to ensure your safety and wellbeing.
If you are dealing with a disability or long-term medical condition it’s likely you’ll have several healthcare professionals looking after you. You may also have a social worker. Your condition may involve taking lots of different medications, and seeing many different people. A specialist caregiver can manage all of this for you, making sure that you are up to date and seen by all relevant medical professionals.
If a fluid chart is in place a more advanced carer can keep a track of this and add comments and notes on a regular basis. They can also manage special diets and feeding plans, ensuring you get the right amount of food in the right way.
When asking ‘What does a live in carer do?’ it’s also worth thinking about the benefits of what they do.
Here is a video that discusses the advantages if Live in Care.
It’s good to be aware of the positive impact a live in carer can have, as well as being aware of the roles and responsibilities a carer would typically undertake. Associated benefits include:
One of the main benefits of live in care is the impact it can have on loneliness. Loneliness affects over two million elderly people in the UK. More than a million told Age UK that they regularly go a month without seeing or speaking to anyone. A live in carer is with you all the time, so you never have to be on your own. Of course you still can have some me-time if you want, though!
Having someone in the house 24/7 can be a great source of comfort for the person receiving care. It also provides peace of mind for their family.
Most importantly the presence of a live in carer can help to prevent falls – which can have catastrophic consequences for elderly people. From a safety and security perspective a live in carer is a sensible option, especially when an older person is particularly vulnerable.
Loneliness has been shown to have a negative impact on mental health – but it also causes a lack of stimulation for the brain. This can be problematic, especially for people with dementia.
Having someone around ensures better mental and cognitive health, as conversations, activities and hobbies – even holidays can be shared together.
Physical activity can be improved too – as having an escort means you can get out of the house more often or even feel more confident moving about indoors. You’ll also have the opportunity to attend fitness classes if you want to.
Improved nutrition – Many older people find that they eat less or reach for unhealthy foods, especially if they live alone. A live in carer can cook nutritious, wholesome meals and ensure that the person eats well each day.
Lots of people who access live in care report enhanced quality of life overall. This is often because they’re able to get out more and do the things they love – like attending social groups, classes and getting out of the house on a more regular basis. If you have pets you can also keep them with you, which greatly enhances quality of life for animal lovers.
Without transport lots of older people miss important check-ups, such as podiatry appointments, blood pressure monitoring and wellness clinics. A live in carer can take you to your appointments, ensuring better health and wellbeing overall.
Here are some of the disadvantages associated with 24 hour care.