What Is Live-In Care?

If you are organising care for yourself or a loved one then you may be considering live-in care as an option to ensure all of your care needs are met in the comfort of your own home, with 24-hour support.

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?

There are many different care options available that enable a carer to visit your home on a regular basis, such as night care (when they only visit overnight to provide necessary help), day care (when they provide companionship services and more throughout the day), respite care (when they visit for a specific period of time to allow another care worker or family member to take a break), and more. 

Live-in care means a trained, professional carer will live with you in your home in order to provide the care you need on a regular basis, and support your specific needs. This is often a preferable alternative to a care home or nursing home, and it allows older people to remain living in their own home alongside a constant companion who can assist with things like personal care, specialist medical care, cooking, housework, and more. 

Why would someone need live-in care?

With so many options for care available, you may be wondering whether you need someone to visit occasionally, more regularly, or to live in your home with you and provide 24/7 care. It can be difficult to know when you need care, and whether live-in care is the best option for you or your loved one, so here are a few reasons why someone might need live-in care:

  1. Someone who requires several different types of care throughout the day (such as someone to help with personal care, someone to administer medication, etc.) might prefer to have one live-in carer who can perform all of the care they need or coordinate other carers, instead of lots of people coming and going each day.
  2. Someone with ill health may prefer the idea of having a carer with them at all times in case any health concerns come up, and to avoid any falls or accidents. 
  3. Someone with complex care needs that cause them to struggle around the house – such as hearing or sight loss, or mobility issues – may find they feel more comfortable with a live-in carer who can help them throughout the day and night. 
  4. Someone with a dementia condition might need to have a live-in carer providing care 24/7 so they are always safe and comfortable at home with a familiar face, and feel less lonely.
  5. Someone who is already receiving care might start to notice carer visits are no longer frequent enough to keep up with their needs, in which case live-in care could be the next best option. 
  6. Someone who cannot afford a care home but needs round-the-clock care may find that live-in care is a more affordable alternative. 
  7. Someone who has been unable to settle in a care home or nursing home (for example they are distressed at their change in surroundings, or they are feeling isolated from friends and their community) may find live-in care a preferable option that allows them to stay at home. 
  8. Couples who want to stay together may find it difficult if one partner requires round-the-clock care but the other is not ready to move into a care home. In situations like these, live-in care can be a great option enabling partners to remain together in the home they know and love, while receiving all the care they need. 

Someone with a challenging recovery ahead after a hospital stay may need more care than usual, and live-in care can ensure they get everything they need in the comfort of home, with someone around to assist with things like wound cleaning and vital signs monitoring.

What are the different types of live-in care?

Under the umbrella of live-in care, there are several different types you may hear about, and it can be difficult to choose which is best for you or your loved one. Many care agencies will offer their own types of care, but typically you might come across the following: 

  • 24-hour live-in care: For those who need round-the-clock care, 24-hour live-in care means there is always someone around to help with whatever you need, even if it’s the middle of the night. This will typically involve more than one carer, for example one providing daytime care and another overnight, or working on alternating shifts.
  • Companionship care: Even if you do not yet require 24-hour live-in care, you may feel safer and less lonely with someone being with you in your home at all times. Companionship care fills this need by providing a friendly face to chat with, or to help with tricky home tasks or basic needs. You may need a different type of care if you have complex medical needs or specialist care is required. 
  • Convalescent care/Intermediate care: This type of care is specifically for those recovering at home after a challenging surgery, injury or illness. If you are worried about post-hospital care, this type of live-in care can ensure you are monitored at all times until you feel better. The NHS can provide something called Intermediate Care or Reablement for up to six weeks if needed after a hospital stay, which can be discussed with your doctor or healthcare professional taking care of you in hospital. 
  • Complex live-in care: This type of care is designed for those with conditions such as dementia or Parkinson’s, who may require specially trained carers with experience caring for these conditions. 
  • Respite care: Designed to allow other carers or family members to have a break for a variety of reasons (a holiday, an important event, to avoid burnout, etc.), live-in respite care means a carer will take over caring tasks on a temporary basis, moving into your home to ensure all needs are met for the duration of the respite period. 
  • Emergency home care: Sometimes things come up at short notice and require expert care at the drop of a hat. In these cases, you can feel safer and more supported having a live-in carer move into your home temporarily to take care of you and make sure you have everything you need. 
  • Palliative care: For those with a terminal illness, staying at home where they feel comfortable is so important. In these cases, live-in care can be extremely helpful to ensure they have absolutely everything they need during this challenging time, and that their family members feel confident they are receiving the best care. 
What Is Live-in Care

What are the main benefits of live-in care?

Ultimately, live-in care has many benefits that could make it an ideal choice for you depending on your specific care needs and home situation. These include: 

  • Safety – A survey by Age UK found that 4.3 million older people (36%) said falling over was at the top of their list of concerns, so 24/7 support can help them to feel safe and confident at home. 
  • Companionship1.4 million older people in the UK say they are often lonely, so companionship care can help people avoid feelings of isolation by always having someone around.
  • Consistency – Only one or two carers rotating means there is no revolving door of carers entering your home, and you have more opportunity to develop a bond with your carer(s). It also helps you to remain living at home instead of in a care home
  • AffordabilityResearch suggests providing care at home could be a more cost-effective option for older people. 
  • Social life – Live-in care enables you to stay at home and connected to friends, family and the wider community. Plus, you can maintain hobbies that you enjoy. 
  • Relationships – Couples can stay together in their own home through live-in care, rather than one person being moved to a care home while the other lives separately. 
  • Wellbeing – Staying in the home can promote a healthy, positive mindset by preserving an individual’s sense of independence and control, and live-in care enables this.  
What Is Live-in Care

How do I arrange live-in care for myself or a loved one?

If you would like to arrange live-in care, you can discuss this when you have your Care Needs Assessment (you can arrange this through your local council – find out more about how to do this here) and this can potentially be included in your Care Plan. You can request live-in care, but it will be down to the assessor as to whether or not they feel you need this based on your situation, medical conditions and care needs. 

If you are interested in discussing self-funded live-in care options with a private agency, you can reach out to them to arrange a chat and find out more about the services they provide, and how live-in care works with their agency. 

At Home Instead, we understand deciding to take on a live-in carer can feel like a huge decision, as you will be spending a lot more – if not all – of your time with someone you don’t yet know. We take great care in matching our carers and clients so they not only receive the expert, professional care they need, but also the companionship and friendship that will lay the foundations of an excellent long-term live-in care relationship. No matter what type of home care you are looking for – from occasional help to live-in care – we can provide a tailored service that suits you or your loved one. 

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.