What are the main advantages and disadvantages of live in care?

As live in care grows in popularity it becomes increasingly of interest to people needing care.

The key benefits are widely known – mainly the opportunity to stay in your own home. But there are a variety of pros and cons to consider if you are thinking about accessing live in care.

Often learning about different types of care can be daunting and confusing – especially since there is usually an emotional element involved.

At UK Care Guide we’re here to help you and guide you through the process with simple facts and easy to understand explanations.

This informative article we break down the key benefits and drawbacks of live in care to help you to make a decision on whether it is right for you.

We’ll start with the benefits, and move on to the drawbacks later on in the article.

As a start point, here is a short video explaining what Live in Care actually is.

What are the advantages of live in care?

Live in care has a number of high-profile advantages – plus some that you may not yet be aware of. Learning more about these benefits can help you to decide whether live in care is right for you.

1/ Stay in the comfort of your own home

One survey conducted recently found that a majority of healthcare professionals agree that staying at home for as long as possible is beneficial for overall health and wellbeing.

This is understandably something most people look for when considering care. Few people want to access residential care, and many do so as a last resort.

Naturally most of us want to remain in our own home for as long as possible, especially if we live with family or a spouse. Live in care ensures that couples don’t need to split up, and the person needing care can remain close to the familiar surroundings they know and love.

This could also mean being near to family and friends.

Staying at home can be especially beneficial for people with dementia, as a change of surroundings can be confusing and upsetting.

2/ Dedicated one-to-one care

In a residential care setting it’s rare to have one or two core staff members who get to know you and look after you continuously. Usually you’ll be seen by different members of a team each day, which can be confusing.

It can also cause issues if handovers are not properly performed, or staff don’t have an opportunity to get to know you properly.

In a live in care situation you will be looked after by one person, with another person on hand when your main carer takes breaks and holidays. These professionals will develop a relationship with you over time.

This is ideal as they will understand how you like to be cared for and will get to know your likes and dislikes. It can also help with potentially embarrassing or upsetting situations such as accessing personal care, as you feel you know and trust the person caring for you.

3/ Peace of mind and reduced pressure on family

For family members live in care offers immense peace of mind. Having someone in the house 24/7 ensures that you are safe, secure and looked after at all times.

It can also prevent accidents and falls. Live in carers can be proactive and liaise with healthcare professionals, so any illness or issues can be quickly picked up and dealt with in good time.

4/ Cost-effectiveness

For couples live in care can be very cost-effective. This is because the cost of residential care homes includes accommodation, meals and maintenance fees – all things you pay for yourself at home.

Instead of paying twice for two rooms or two placements in a residential home, you can pay just once for a live in carer between you. This can save thousands of pounds per year.

Many people use equity release to fund their live in care.  It allows you to take money from your house tax-free and use that to pay for care.  It is an option you should look at if you are looking at a care home.

Try the calculator below to see how much money you could get.

5/ Lifestyle and pets

Live in care provides an opportunity to maintain your current lifestyle. If you enjoy attending local pubs, clubs and activities with friends, you can continue to do so. Moving further away to another location for residential care could affect that.

Live in care also ensures that you can keep any beloved pets. Most residential care homes don’t allow pets, so people needing care are often forced to give them up. When you stay at home your pet can stay with you – and a live in carer could even help you to walk them and look after them.

Here is a useful video that looks at the advantages of Live in Care.

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What are the disadvantages of live in care?

Despite its many positive points live in care does have several important disadvantages that need to be considered carefully before making a decision.

It isn’t right for everybody – so it’s very important to look at live in care in a realistic and holistic manner.

1/ Cost of home modifications

If you plan on staying at home for an extended period of time will it still be suitable in years to come? For those living in a large or older property it’s important to think about whether modifications may need to be made.

These kinds of changes can be costly and disruptive. Many older people experience mobility issues later in life – so stair lifts, specialist showers and ramps may be required now or in the future.

It’s worth bearing in mind that small properties or homes in need of renovation may need changes to be made in order to access live in care in the first place.

You’ll need room for your live in carer to spend time in when they aren’t with you – a bedroom and where possible a private bathroom. You may even decide to move home before accessing live in care to combat these issues.

2/ Fewer funding options

Live in care is mostly funded through savings or selling valuable assets to build a pot of money that can be drawn from over time. It is cost-effective for couples – but it is also expensive. Live in care generally costs between £500 and £1200 per week.

As you are staying in your own home it’s harder to use your property to fund care. If you don’t have sufficient savings built up it will be hard for you to pay for live in care.

Equity release is an option for those who are mortgage-free and own their own home – but this will need to be paid back upon your death. You should also make sure that the amount released is sufficient to cover your care in the long term.

3/ Lack of funding support

Live in care isn’t supported by as many funding options as residential care. It is classed as private care, so you will be expected to pay for most or all of it yourself.

Personal budgets or direct payments may be provided depending on eligibility. With or without this, you’ll need to have sufficient funds to pay for live in care in the long-term.

You can of course use benefits, welfare payments and pensions towards the cost of care. As a couple you can combine funds, which may make it easier to pay.   

5/ Reduced inheritance  

Using a finite fund such as savings to pay for your care naturally reduces the amount you’ll have to pass on as inheritance. You may need to sell valuable items you were saving for specific family members.

If you choose to pay for live in care by releasing equity in your home you also won’t be able to leave your property to your loved ones. This can be a big concern for many – but it’s important to prioritise your needs now rather than worrying about what you will leave for your relatives.

6/ Space and privacy

Your live in carer will require a sufficient private space of their own to spend time in by themselves and have breaks away from the role. You might not want to make space or simply can’t if you have a smaller property.

You should also consider how comfortable you are with sharing your space with a stranger. Cohabitation can be difficult, especially when you don’t know the person or have lived by yourself for some time.

Where can I find more information to help me make a decision?

You can find more information here on the __ website. If you require hands-on support and personalised advice speak with your healthcare professional or social worker. Charities such as Age UK can also provide face to face guidance.

Some other useful videos for you

Here is a video that looks at what Live in Care costs.


Here is a video that looks at what a Live in Carer does.



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