How many hours will a home carer work?

Written by Zenya Smith30/05/19


Home Care
Home care is becoming an increasingly popular choice for people in later life. From a carer visiting for a few hours a day, to having a professional move in and be on hand 24/7, in this article we’ll look at some of the types of home care available, what carers can support with, and how many hours of care they can provide.

Home care facts 


What is hourly care?

If an older person starts to struggle with some everyday tasks,  hourly care may be a good option. A carer can provide flexible help that could involve visiting every morning to help with washing and dressing, or popping in a couple of times a week to help out by running errands or preparing meals.

Hourly care is high quality but low impact, so a person can get used to the idea of having some help to remain in their home. If someone is recently bereaved, or feels isolated due to an on-going illness, a visiting carer may be called on to provide companion care, help them stay in touch with friends, follow the pastimes they love or even look after a pet. 

What does hourly care involve?

Hourly care can involve different levels of care and support, which may include –

  • Help paying bills and doing admin
  • Light housework and gardening
  • Companionship
  • Help with bathing and dressing
  • Monitoring medication
  • Preparing meals
  • Taking care of pets 
  • Help with toileting, e.g changing pads
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Specialist care including dementia care


The benefits of hourly care

First and foremost, hourly care means an older person can remain in their home surrounded by their friends and family. It’s also flexible enough to meet the care recipient’s changing needs. They’ll enjoy a better quality of life without the upheaval of downsizing and relocating to a residential care facility.

How many hours will an hourly carer work? 

This will usually be based around your unique needs. Most visiting carers arranged through a regulated care provider can spend between 30 minutes a week to a couple hours each day with a person. However, be aware that there’s no guarantee you or your loved one will be visited by the same carer every day. Plus, depending on how many other visits they have, a carer may be unable to extend their visit if additional support is needed. 

An introductory agency or private carer will likely offer a little more flexibility day to day. Because they’re not tied to the schedule provided to them by an agency, you’ll be free to create an arrangement that works for you, whether this means having more visits during some weeks than others, or the carer spending most of the day with you or your loved one – much like a traditional 9-5 job. Plus, it’s far easier to guarantee carer continuity, by coming to a working agreement with just one or two carers of your choice. 


What is overnight care?

If an older person feels unsafe at night or needs help going to the bathroom, overnight care at home can help them feel more secure and comfortable. Overnight care can also help in the short-term if a person is recovering from a fall or illness, and needs additional monitoring or medication prompting during the night.

Having access to an experienced, professional carer through the night can help a person who may become restless or confused at night because they’re living with dementia – keeping them safe from wandering and helping them get back to bed. Arranging specialist overnight dementia care can give everyone peace of mind – especially if you’re a family member who lives far away. 

An overnight carer can either sleep in the care recipient’s home or may stay awake all night, depending on the reasons for organising overnight care.

What does overnight care involve?

Overnight care includes help with going to the bathroom and getting ready for bed. A carer can also supervise taking medication and help with changing position in bed to keep an older person comfortable through the night. A  dementias carer can calm down a person who may otherwise become distressed if they wake during the night, or forget where they are. 

The benefits of overnight care

Overnight home care helps to ensure that the care recipient gets a good night’s sleep, especially if they’re anxious or lonely. Overnight home care can help those living with dementia feel safe and secure in their own home.

How many hours will an overnight carer work?

Of course, this can differ according to which agency or care provider you use, and your own unique needs. 

Most often, an overnight carer will arrive around 8 or 9pm to assist with getting ready for bed, prompting medication, and helping the person get into bed safely. Often, the carer will then stay for around 10 hours. They may stay awake and perform regular check ins on the older person, or sleep and wake if alerted by the person that they need assistance. 

Sometimes, a night carer will help with the morning routine and breakfast preparation too. 

What is live-in care?

Live-in care is the popular alternative to moving into a residential home. It offers older people the opportunity to live as independently as possible while being confident that their changing care needs will be met. For anyone living alone, it’s also an opportunity to make a new friendship with a trusted carer who shares their interests or hobbies.

If you or your relative prefers to stay in the comfort and familiarity of home but day to day tasks are getting increasingly challenging, a live-in carer offers the best of both worlds, ensuring continued enjoyment of a much-loved environment without the risks associated with living in isolation and loneliness.

What does live-in care involve?

Because a live-in carer lives with the person they’re caring for, they can provide round the clock care. That could include –


The benefits of live-in care

Choosing a live-in carer enables a loved one to remain in their own home and keep their independence. A live-in carer can offer as much or as little support as is needed and can help to keep daily routines running smoothly. The carer can share hobbies and interests or simply be someone to watch a film with. Importantly, they can lend emotional support and prevent an older person from feeling lonely, anxious and isolated.

How many hours will a live-in carer work? 

Again, there’s no hard or fast rule for live-in care – different agencies and carers will have preferred ways of working. However, most agencies, including Elder outline that live-in carers may work up to 10 hours a day. It’s also advisable that a live-in carer takes up to two hours of break time a day, when safe to do so. Often families will arrange for a family member or friend to come and visit to coincide with these breaks, if an older person can’t be left unattended safely.

Be aware that while a live-in carer is in the home with an older person 24/7, they need their rest too. This is why many care providers will limit the amount of time a carer can provide support during the night. While a live-in carer is of course on hand to provide support if a person wakes up and needs assistance, if they’re being woken up repeatedly during the night and feel unable to get enough sleep, an additional overnight carer may be needed. 

Some agencies also charge per wake up, which is something to be aware of. With Elder we’ll never charge you for nightly wake ups – up to two, 15 minute wake ups per night are included in our pricing as standard. 


Call us for a no-obligation chat about your care needs

0333 920 3648

Learn more about home care

Take a look at more Elder guides on how to arrange and adjust to care at home.

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