The role of Live-in Respite Care

If you are caring for an older family member in a full-time capacity, it is so important to understand the benefits of respite care and how it can help with your current situation. Here, we are breaking down what live-in respite care is, why it can be helpful (or necessary) for full-time carers, its many benefits, how to know when you need it, how to handle the transition period, how to arrange live-in respite care, and what support and funding could help you do this. 

At Home Instead, our aim is to help people age positively and in place by bringing expert care to their home. For nearly 20 years, we have been providing the highest standard of care, and creating industry-leading training programmes for our Care Professionals that are accredited by nursing and medical professionals. Today, we are the world’s largest global home care network, supporting over 100,000 older adults with personalised, tailored care at home. So whatever questions you have about home care, we can help. 

What is Live-in Care?

Live-in Care is when a trained, professional carer moves into the home of an older person for a period of time in order to provide personalised, 24/7 care for their specific needs. Many older people choose to stay in their own house as they get older, and live-in care can offer the necessary care to allow them to feel safe and supported in the comfort of their home, instead of having to move into an assisted living facility, care home or nursing home

Live-in Care can consist of whatever combination of services the client needs, such as companionship, personal care, cooking, housework, specialist medical care and more.  

You can read more about this type of care our guides to what Live-in Care is and how it works in practice.

Live-in respite care

What is respite care?

Respite care is sometimes called replacement care, or carer’s breaks. It is temporary care which takes over all caring duties for an individual who needs daily help, in order to allow their regular carer or family member to take a break. 

Those needing care are often looked after by their partners, children or another close relative, and these family members frequently offer their time for free, or feel that the caring role is entirely their responsibility. 

If this sounds similar to your situation, it is important to remember that constant caring duties can start to impact your own work and life. Daily needs can become overwhelming, and can make it more difficult to manage other life responsibilities like getting to work on time, caring for young children, managing your own health, and more. 

Live-in respite care

Why is respite care important for caregivers?

Many people struggle with feelings of guilt about leaving their loved one, or feel uncomfortable leaving their care in the hands of a stranger, but there is evidence to suggest that respite care offers benefits to everyone from carers to patients. Even if you feel you are handling caring duties well, know that it can become tiring after a while and can have a negative impact on your health, mindset, relationships, career, and more. 

It is important to prioritise your own wellbeing in order to continue providing the very best care for your loved one, as research indicates caregivers who are experiencing strain have a 63% higher mortality risk than others. 

Respite care is certainly worth looking into if you have been caring for someone for a while and need more time off to manage your own responsibilities, attend an appointment or special occasion, or just recharge your batteries. For families that are providing full-time, long-term care, respite care is incredibly important. At Home Instead our respite care allows you to feel confident that your loved one is well cared for at home.

Live-in respite care

What types of respite care are available?

Respite care can be provided wherever it is needed, such as at home, or through a specialised facility. It allows the caregiver to rest and recharge, see to personal matters, and take much-deserved breaks that will enable them to continue caring for an older relative. 

There are different types of respite care available, such as:

  • Home care – Whether organised by your local council or paid for independently, home care can be arranged so that a respite carer takes over caring duties within the home for a period of time, such as one week so the family can go on holiday, or one day a week as an ongoing day off for the regular carer. 
  • Care home stays – In some cases you can organise a temporary stay in a care home for respite, which means the regular care offering of a care home would be extended to the person during their stay there. 
  • Sitting services – Sometimes charities like Age UK will offer sitting services, which means a volunteer (with training) will sit with the person for a few hours in order to give regular caregivers a break. 
  • Day care centres – These are often run by local councils or charities, and provide opportunities for older people to socialise with others and take part in activities. 
  • Emergency respite care – Sometimes carers have their own emergencies or situations that they cannot get out of, so it is important to think in advance about having emergency respite care in place that can take over at a moment’s notice.
Live-in respite care

Who could benefit from live-in respite care?

Live-in respite care means a professional carer will move into the client’s home to provide Live-in Care services on a temporary basis, so the regular carer(s) can take a break. Live-in respite care can be a positive alternative to a temporary stay in a care home, and can continue to prioritise the client’s own routine and preferences by ensuring they remain at home where they feel comfortable. 

Live-in respite care could benefit: 

  • Full-time carers of older people
  • Full-time carers of those with disabilities
  • Anyone recovering from an illness or surgery who needs temporary care 
  • Anyone who needs to continue certain medication routines while their usual carer takes time off
  • Anyone with dementia who needs reminders to do things while their usual carer takes time off  
  • Those in need of palliative care and 24/7 monitoring 
  • Those with a chronic illness in need of constant care 
  • Parents of children with special needs who could benefit from breaks for their own mental wellbeing

Live-in respite care can help the individual requiring care to feel in control of their own life, while enabling their usual carer to manage their own life responsibilities without having to worry that their loved one has been left alone or without adequate care in place. 

Live-in respite care

Why might someone request respite care at home?

There are many reasons carers need time away from their caring responsibilities, whether they are a paid carer or a family member caring for a loved one. These include (but are not limited to) temporary relief from caring duties:

  • To avoid burnout and overwhelm 
  • To provide a rest from the physical exhaustion caused by the demands of caring 
  • To provide a break from the emotional exhaustion of caring for a loved one 
  • To attend an upcoming event 
  • To go on a much-needed holiday, whether this means going away somewhere or staying at home 
  • To start taking regular days off each week for wellbeing 
  • To cover a period of increased demand, such as a busy work project or after the birth of a baby
  • To cover care duties while the regular carer is ill or unable to work  
Live-in respite care

What are the benefits of live-in respite care?

If your loved one is already receiving Live-in Care from you or a regular carer, live-in respite care may be the best choice to ensure all bases are covered while the usual caregiver is on a break. However, there are so many flexible options for home care, so other types of respite care may be preferable depending on the situation. 

Live-in respite care has many benefits when compared to other respite care options like someone popping in each day or a temporary stay in a care home. The benefits include: 

  • Constant companionship for the person needing care, which keeps feelings of loneliness at bay 
  • One-to-one, personalised care throughout the respite period 
  • Less stress for the person needing care, as there is no need to wonder what time their carer will show up each day 
  • Allowing the individual to have control over where palliative care takes place (research says that 71% of people would prefer to stay at home over going to a hospice)
  • The person needing care doesn’t need to miss out on community gatherings, meetups with friends, or their favourite activities while their regular carer is off 
  • Studies show that familiar surroundings can improve the quality of life of those with dementia, so live-in respite care could be the best option for them if their regular carer is taking a break 

Ultimately, having a temporary caregiver living inside the client’s home means they can rest assured there is always someone on hand if needed. This can also put family members’ minds at ease knowing there is someone around to take on caregiving duties even if they are not, and that their loved one can stay in their own home. 

Live-in respite care

How long can you get live-in respite care for?

Home care can be flexible to suit the needs of each individual, so if you need to arrange live-in respite care you can discuss your requirements with the agency providing this, or with the assessor during your Care Needs Assessment

You may be able to organise live-in respite care for a few days a week to give yourself a regular break from caring duties, or you could arrange one or two weeks or respite care to make sure everything is covered while you go on a holiday. 

Whatever your needs are to maintain a healthy mind and body, to manage your own life responsibilities, and to avoid missing out on important events, you can arrange live-in respite care to support your loved one, or as a temporary replacement for a current Live-in carer.

Live-in respite care

How do you know if you need live-in respite care?

It is very difficult to recognise whether or not you need home care services for yourself. Similarly, it can be difficult to know what needs your loved one has when you see them so often and may not realise they have declined in health or mobility. 

You may find it useful to read our guide for more information on this topic: Do I Need A Carer? How To Tell If You Or A Loved One Needs Support.

When it comes to respite care, it is usually up to the regular caregiver to recognise when they need help or a break from their care duties. Some of the signs to look out for that may indicate your need for respite care include: 

  • If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed with the amount of care your loved one needs
  • If you are unable to get everything done around your own life responsibilities 
  • If you feel physically exhausted often, or are experiencing a decline in your own health 
  • If you feel mentally exhausted and are struggling to see your loved one in pain 
  • If you are noticing yourself making more mistakes with their care, or dropping the ball on important areas of your own life
  • If you have a particularly big life change coming up, such as a new job or a new baby
Live-in respite care

When someone takes over to provide respite care, how is the handover managed?

Trusting someone else to provide your loved one with the appropriate care can be tough, especially when you are so used to doing it yourself and you know what their preferences are. When respite care is arranged with Home Instead, you never need to worry that the respite carer won’t know what they are doing as there is always a thorough handover period in which you or the regular carer can go through everything that you would like done. 

This includes things like schedules, medication needs, family check-ins and more, and can ensure you and your loved one feel completely comfortable with the arrangement. An efficient and detailed handover is an important part of respite care, as it ensures the client receives relevant and consistent care no matter how much time off you need. If you are preparing for a handover, it can help to:

  • Find any official documents that may be required during the respite period, such as Care Plans, medication schedules, etc. 
  • Write down a full plan outlining what needs to happen and when 
  • Include information about the client’s preferences if you can, such as activities they enjoy doing, any community events they would like to attend, what time they prefer to eat and go to bed, etc. 
  • Write down any vital information (such as medication needs) and discuss this in person at the handover so you feel comfortable that they understand what needs to happen 
  • Walk the respite carer through a demonstration of any routines or complicated procedures that may be required, and let them know where any equipment is kept
  • If your loved one needs to attend any medical appointments while you are away, make sure the respite carer knows when these will take place and any other information they may need
  • Discuss your loved one’s eating habits, preferences, where food is kept and how to use any kitchen appliances
  • If cleaning is required during the respite period, let the carer know where cleaning supplies are kept and what your loved one prefers to be done each week 
  • Provide emergency contacts for the respite carer to use if they need them, and let them know who to contact if they have any day-to-day questions (if you are going on holiday or taking a break from all caring, it can help to provide contact details for an alternative family member) 
  • If you would like to stay in touch, encourage the respite carer to keep in touch with updates to put your mind at ease while you are away
  • Give the respite carer time to ask any questions they have, and answer them as best you can 
  • Introduce your loved one to the respite carer while you are there, and assure them that they are in good hands. Remember they may be anxious about being apart from you and not feel entirely comfortable with a respite carer in the beginning, so do what you can to reassure them and put their mind at ease
Live-in respite care

How do you find and arrange live-in respite care?

If you are seeking respite care through your loved one’s local council (or local carers’ centre, if you have one), they can provide all the information you need about arranging live-in respite care. Keep in mind the local council will only fund respite care for those they have assessed – you can apply for a Care Needs Assessment here

You can find your nearest carers’ service here, or your local authority adult social care services:

If you are planning to fund respite care yourself, there are a number of services available which can be found online with reviews and testimonials. By doing your research, you can find the best agency offering flexible, bespoke respite care for however long you need it. 

At Home Instead, we understand how difficult it can be to leave your loved one in the hands of someone else, which is why we take great care in matching your loved one with the ideal respite carer for them, and ensure the handover period is seamless and encouraging for everyone involved.

Live-in respite care

What support and funding is available for live-in respite care?

You can apply for help to fund these costs through your loved one’s local council, and the council will carry out a financial assessment which will determine how much funding you could receive towards the costs of live-in respite care. 

Whether you are considering this route or paying for live-in respite care yourself, you may find our guide on paying for home care useful, too.

We can support you to set up the best respite care arrangement for you and your loved one. Our Care Professionals are highly trained to deliver the individualised service you are looking for, so get in touch to discuss what you’re looking for. We’re an award-winning home care provider and part of a worldwide organisation devoted to providing the highest quality relationship-led care for older people in their own homes. Arranging care for yourself or your loved one shouldn’t be stressful, so whatever questions you would like answered, feel free to reach out to the Home Instead team to discuss your needs.

Live-in respite care