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Live-in care – everything you need to know

Live-in care is the new standard in elderly support that provides your loved one with the full-time care they need, in their own home. In this guide, we run through everything you need to know to put it in place.

Quick summary

  • Live-in carers are experienced to care for a range of needs, including personal care and supporting those living with complex or chronic conditions.
  • It’s comparable in cost to a care home bed for those paying for care themselves. Plus, your home is excluded from the financial means test, so you’re more likely to be entitled to local authority funding and less likely to lose your home.
  • It enables people to stay in their homes, maintain their routine and live independently for longer, and is increasingly linked with a range of better health outcomes.

What is live-in care?

Live-in care involves a dedicated, full-time, carer moving into the home to support with care needs as well as domestic tasks. 

It’s the new standard for elderly care, allowing your loved one to remain as independent as possible while remaining a cost-effective alternative to more traditional care options. 

A live-in carer can provide support with a number of things – from care needs and support with medication prompting to housekeeping tasks and companionship. 

If you’re looking at care options for a loved one but are uncomfortable with the idea of sending them into a residential or nursing home, live-in care could be the ideal solution, with fees starting at £950 per week.

We know that deciding on the best care for your loved one can be a challenging task, so we’ve detailed everything you need to know about live-in care.

What does a live-in carer do?

A live-in carer performs a range of domestic and personal care duties to support your loved one with their wellbeing.

Household cleaning

Help getting dressed

Personal hygiene

Meal preparation

Medication prompting

Support with mobility

Running errands

Companionship

Emergency response

Why choose live-in care?

Live-in care allows people to stay in their own home, retaining a level of independence while still receiving the care and support they need. For many people, home means everything, it’s part of who they are. Live-in care allows them to keep that cruicial element of their life.

In place quickly

Let us know what sort of help you need, and we can help get an experienced carer on your doorstep within 48 hours.

Real friendship

We’ll help you handpick the perfect companion for your loved one from a choice of highly-qualified candidates.

On your side

If you ever need a spot of advice about your circumstances, our specialist advisors are only a phone call away.

Who chooses live-in care?

Live-in care is an option for anyone who has care needs but wants to retain their independence and remain in their home. It’s an alternative option for those with a variety of care needs – including those who have survived a stroke or are living with dementia. It’s available for individuals and couples.

Those currently receiving domiciliary care

It may be that your loved one has been receiving domiciliary care but visits throughout the day are no longer sufficient to meet their needs, and more care is required. Live-in care is different – providing round-the-clock support – rather than a just few visits throughout the day, with carers often working on four weeks on, one week off, basis.

Those currently in a care home

Sometimes, we find people come to us when they’ve tried residential care but are unable to settle in an institution surrounded by so many other people, or are just much happier in their own home. If you’re in a similar situation, we’ll work with any health and social care professionals to get your loved one home.

Couples that want to stay together

It can be a huge, life-changing moment to have a partner of many years move into residential care. Couples with different care needs often find that the best and most cost-effective way for them to stay together is to opt for care within their own four walls. It means everyone can be looked after. If only one of a couple has care needs, you can add spousal support to your care package for a small fee, which means your carer will provide housekeeping support for both members of the household.

Those being discharged from hospital

If your loved one is in hospital, they may need to have care in place before they can be discharged. In this case, the only real alternative to a residential or nursing home is to arrange care within their own home. We can arrange for the carer to meet them at hospital to help ensure they get home safely.

Often, the decision on what type of care is best will fall to the family – taking into account the needs and opinions of the care recipient. As a family, it’s important to discuss the various care needs and best options for your loved ones.

Live-in care costs

Live-in care costs can vary between different areas and across providers. There are some common misconceptions around live-in care being beyond the reach of many, however, live-in care can be a very cost-effective care option. 

What’s more, if you know where to look, there are various sources of funding that can help cover the cost of live-in care which can help put your mind at ease when it comes to working out how you’re going to pay for it.

Live-in care with Elder starts from £950 a week, with no hidden charges for weekends or holidays. The fee may be higher if your loved one’s care needs are more intensive.   

Some people may require specialist support, such as Alzheimer’s care, or help with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. 

For such situations, a live-in carer may need experience in caring for people with that particular condition. Elder doesn’t charge extra for dementia care but do offer a different pricing structure should an additional carer be required to provide 24-hour care. 

Included in the cost of live-in care from a professional caregiver is the work that goes into ensuring a good match between the personalities, interests and background of your loved one and yourself. This is crucial, as finding the right carer can improve their quality of life immeasurably.

Keep in mind that you’ll also have to come to any arrangement on a food budget. You can do this by working it out directly with the carer, or simply ask one of our team to provide a managed food budget. We’d typically suggest £30 per week towards your carer’s meals.

As your loved one is able to stay in their own home, you may need to cover certain expenses to modify the property. Thankfully, help is available. Everyone is entitled to up to £1,500 from their local authority for minor changes to the home, and potentially more if their needs are more serious. Find out more in our home adaptations guide

Help with funding

In some cases, your loved one may be able to receive full or partial funding from their local council. To get started, you need to speak directly to social services in their area and complete a care needs assessment to find out if they’re eligible.

Once this is completed, you’re able to request to receive any funding you’re entitled to as a direct payment, which puts you in control of how you spend it. Those eligible for direct payments generally receive between £50 and £600 a month, depending on the extent of their needs. Then, it’ll be down to the family to cover the rest – many people find releasing equity from the home as a convenient way to cover this cost.

Local authority funding isn’t the only source from which funding is available. It’s important to know and understand what you’re entitled to – particularly when it comes to claiming elderly benefits. If your loved one lives with a chronic health condition or is/has recently been in hospital, you should always ask your healthcare professional about NHS continuing healthcare. This can cover every penny of your care costs and isn’t means tested, so your financial situation isn’t taken into account.

Other options for funding also are available, such as downsizing, equity release, lifetime mortgages, or home reversion plans. Our team are able to point you in the direction of companies that offer financial products such as these that have been created specifically for those opting for live-in care.

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Get more information on care funding

Families are often shocked at how affordable live-in care is. People tend to think because it’s one-on-one support, it’s a lot more expensive than residential care. Actually, it’s quite similar in price.

Plus, there are plenty of ways to pay for it. We’ve put together a simple four-step plan to follow and maximise the amount of money you’re entitled to. Find out more by hitting the button below. 

How to arrange live-in care

Once you’ve decided that live-in care is the best option for you, there are three main routes you can go down when arranging it – arranging it privately, with a fully-managed agency or with an introductory agency (such as Elder). There are advantages and disadvantages to each, but we can help you to arrange live-in care.

While private live-in care may be the initial go-to for many people, as it allows families to choose a carer they know and trust – sometimes a family member or friend – it can have many unexpected legal obligations which can be stressful.

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Private live-in care 

Private live-in care generally refers to the process of employing a carer yourself, usually someone you already know. 

For many families, private live-in care with a friend or family member can be a great option. However, it does pose some drawbacks of having to manage employment and holidays – sometimes becoming extremely complex and with risks.

When going down the route of private care, you generally assume the role of employer and are therefore legally responsible for things such as sick pay, holiday entitlements and paying wages.

Not only that but you also have the responsibility of providing employment contracts, taking out insurance, and sorting out respite care when your carer takes a break.

Arranging care with an agency can mean more peace of mind and less hassle in the long term. At Elder, as an introductory agency, we pride ourselves on our matching process so you can be reassured your loved one is matched with a carer who suits their care needs and personality.

What is a live-in care agency?

While there are an increasing number of companies offering a live-in option, a specialist agency is best able to facilitate this. 

The goal of a live-in care agency is to provide personalised care and support for those who need it – while understanding the complexities of arranging care. 

There are two main types of live-in care company – either a fully-managed company or an introductory agency.

What is a fully managed live-in care agency?

A fully-managed live-in care agency is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and generally, their carers are direct employees of their company, meaning the company manages your carer’s pay, benefits, holidays and pension.

A fully-managed agency will take responsibility for recruiting and training carers, undertaking background checks and DBS screenings to ensure all documents and references are accurate.

Companies providing this service generally charge more than introductory agencies, as the fee includes all the elements of care – a fee that’s determined in an assessment. In contrast, introductory agencies are more flexible in costs – meaning they tend to have lower fees. 

This difference in fee doesn’t necessarily affect care quality, and is instead determined by specific care needs and tailored to the individual.

What is an introductory agency?

Elder is defined by the CQC as an introductory agency, in line with the Health & Social Care Act 2008. This is a model that falls outside the scope of the CQC’s regulations.

Rather than employ the carers we work with, we match customers who require care with self-employed care professionals from the Elder network of carers.

All the live-in carers on the Elder platform are contracted directly with your family, as per the terms and conditions. With us, it’s the carers themselves – in line with the family members or primary contacts and local councils – who manage the day-to-day care.

This includes managing the personal care, risk assessments, continuation of care assessments and anything else required to make sure the recipient is safe, happy and comfortable in the place they’re happiest – their own home.

As an introductory agency, we don’t have an “ongoing role in the direction or control of the service provided”. However, this doesn’t impact the level of service our carers provide on a day-to-day basis. And, in terms of helping you manage your care, we go above and beyond what many other introductory agencies offer.

We find this usually suits families who really want their loved one to be cared for at home but don’t mind taking on a bit of extra responsibility to keep costs down.

How Elder works 

As a live-in care agency, we’re experienced in understanding the care needs of individuals and their families, before introducing them to a carer who suits both their care needs and personality type. 

We understand that to have someone live in your home is a big step, which is why we ensure, through our matching service, your loved one’s opinions and preferences are all considered, as well as the views of the rest of the family. It means we can help find a carer who’ll suit their situation for the long-term.

You, the family, always get final say on the carer. You’ll have the chance to read up on their professional profile, watch their introductory video and even have a Zoom call with them to be sure they’re the right fit. Your first week with us is also a no-strings trial period, meaning you can cancel or switch carers with little notice.

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Live-in housekeeper 

For people who require extra help around the house, but may not need full-time care, a live-in housekeeper can be a good option. They can help with daily household tasks, such as cleaning, as well as preparing meals and cooking. 

This can be great for those with limited mobility, and allows an extra level of support and companionship in the home. For those with some care needs, a live-in carer can perform all the tasks of a live-in housekeeper and help with care support. Helping your loved one get dressed, with personal care and medication support.

A young carer and an elderly woman looking at each other, smiling

The benefits of live-in care

Live-in care has many benefits for both your loved one and the rest of the family. 

It’s consistent, around-the-clock care, offering peace of mind for family and friends as well as dedicated, bespoke care to the care recipient. It offers a level of trust and friendship between the carer and receiver which helps to ensure the carer feels like a part of the family.

But it also has a number of other benefits you should consider such as financial and social benefits.

Financial benefits 

Often, live-in care is thought to be an expensive option however there are actually numerous financial benefits to live-in care.

Unlike a care home, when you opt for care at home, your property is excluded from the financial means test for local authority funding, which means you’re more likely to be eligible for more state support and less likely to lose the family home. 

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With live-in care, property is excluded from the means test 

A big advantage of live-in care is that it gives people a better chance of keeping the family home, as the local authority financial assessment excludes your loved one’s property (as they’re still living in it).

For example, imagine you have £25,000 in the bank, alongside a property worth £500,000 – with live-in care you would need to deplete the £25,000 down to £23,500 to start receiving state assistance from your local authority.

However, if you were to opt for residential care, in a care home, you would need to deplete both the £25,000 savings and the £500,000 property price to a net value of £23,500 to receive assistance.

While having to make home adaptations can be a financial concern, there’s home adaptation money available to assist, should you opt for live-in care.

Additionally, with live-in care there are no hidden costs or hotel costs. 

Social Benefits

Your loved one can keep up with hobbies and interests such as attending events or local clubs. In addition, it allows people to arrange their social life on their own terms. 

They can continue to visit their regular clubs, events or places of worship. They can continue to see friends and family as they please and there’s no reason their social life should change. Only for the better. 

Live-in carers provide the support required to facilitate and enable people to continue to do the things they love.

Not only does live-in care help maintain friendships, but it can also help build friendships and offer companionship for those who may otherwise be lonely. Many find that they build meaningful relationships with their carers and are appreciative of having company in their home.

Often, we find carers and loved ones go on days out together too. Research by Live-in Care Hub shows that those who receive care at home are significantly less likely to be housebound.

Health benefits

There is a range of health benefits associated with live-in care.

Live-in care has been linked with a reduction in falls by 33% in comparison to residential care while hip fractures are reduced by 46%. In addition, staying in your home allows you to remain with the same GP, which not only provides comfort – but has also been linked to living longer.

When it comes to COVID-19, emerging evidence suggests that live-in care has been a significantly safer option throughout the pandemic. Our own calculations show that, throughout the first wave of coronavirus, COVID-19 mortality was 83% lower than the care home.

Live-in care can also be incredibly beneficial to help people leave hospital sooner – which can be critically important to retaining mobility. Studies have shown that a 10-day stay in hospital can lead to up to a 10% decrease in lean leg mass, in healthy older adults. With it being estimated that you can lose 1% of muscle mass for every day spent in bed. Getting home, into an environment where you’re supported in moving around, can help break this cycle.  

Lifestyle benefits 

Live-in care allows people to stay in control for longer. They’re able to maintain their routine and stay in familiar surroundings complete with their belongings, treasures and pets. 

Being able to stay in their own home allows people more choice – choice around what meals they want to eat and how they want to spend their day. Whether that be fish and chip Fridays or a roast dinner on a Sunday – routine can be maintained. 

This can be especially important for those with dementia as it helps keep feelings of confusions and frustration at bay. Maintaining routine and doing things which are familiar can act as a form of reminiscence – an important part of dementia therapy. 

Who can benefit from live-in care? 

Live-in care can be beneficial for anybody with care needs. 

It means someone is there 24/7 to ensure your loved one is happy and well looked after. Providing them comfort and companionship as well as helping them with day-to-day tasks and making sure they’re safe.

As well as being beneficial for those with various complex conditions, it’s an ideal choice for couples who wish to stay together. Research by Age UK found that elderly people are 1.6 times more likely to experience loneliness if they live alone. Live-in care allows couples to stay together in their home for longer.

A carer using a tablet computer with an elderly woman

Types of live-in care 

Live-in care includes different types of home care for various care needs and conditions. Here we run through some of the most common arrangements we put in place for families.

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What are the limits of what live-in carers can do?

It’s important to note that live-in carers are social care professionals, not nursing professionals.

They’re able to support with personal care, diary planning and household tasks, but are unable to administer medication or perform a range of tasks undertaken by a medical professional.

24-hour live-in care 

24-hour live-in care is available for those with more advanced care needs. If your loved one requires around the clock care – day and night – then 24-hour care would provide you with the reassurance they’re being consistently cared for. 

While all live-in carers are on-hand 24-hours per day, you may need further assistance if your loved one has more intensive care needs. 24-hour live-in care involves two carers, ensuring someone is actively providing care 24-hours a day.

Complex live-in care

For complex conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s, complex live-in care, where a professional moves into the home to support with social care needs, is ideal for ensuring your loved one receives the specialist support they require, while still retaining independence over their routine in the familiarity of their home.

Companionship care 

With loneliness in the elderly becoming a concern, it’s essential to ensure your loved one is happy, secure and cared for. Companionship care provides your loved one with a friend who can talk to them and help them keep in touch with friends and family. 

Convalescent care 

Having the extra care and support needed after a surgery or hospital stay is important. Convalescent care is a short-term care solution, allowing people to receive the care they need, after illness or injury, in their own home.

Emergency home care

This type of care plays an important role should your primary carer become ill or need to take respite at short notice. Emergency home care is a type of live-in care that’s available at short notice, to get your loved one the support they need as quickly as possible.

Intermediate care

The NHS provides intermediate care for a period of up to six weeks, following a hospital stay and with the purpose of rehabilitation. You can make your wishes known to receive this type of care at home and ensure your loved one recovers in their own space.

Overnight care 

Overnight care can help to ensure your loved one is safe, comfortable and secure overnight. A carer will be on hand to support with any incontinence or challenging behaviour.

Respite care

Respite care is where a substitute carer steps in for a limited amount of time. It allows primary caregivers to take time for themselves and their wellbeing, while helping to ensure minimal disruption in routine.

Palliative care 

For people facing life-limiting conditions, palliative care at home can help to ensure people living with these illnesses remain supported, comforted and cared for in their own home. It’s all about ensuring every single moment of someone’s life is maximised.

Live-in care vs other care types 

There are a range of care options for the elderly – and each person may have a different opinion of what the best option is for them or their loved one.

Depending on your loved one’s care needs and condition –  the best care type will vary.

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There are a range of care options available 

  • Residential care home
  • Nursing care home
  • Assisted living
  • Live-in care
  • Domiciliary care
  • 24-hour care

Each of these care types has people and conditions they’re more suitable for. There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s all about finding the option that best fits with your loved one’s needs and wishes.

For those with substantial care needs, nursing care is likely to be recommended by health and social care professionals overlooking your loved one’s situation.

Whereas, for less intensive needs, it might be more of a straight choice between care in the home and support in a residential care home. In this guide, we run through live-in care versus other care type and show how they compare. 

Who are our carers?

At Elder, we understand it can be difficult to let someone you don’t know into your home, which is why we vet our carers to the highest standards. Not only do they all have a minimum of one year working as carers but they’re people who love what they do. 

Our carers have some incredible stories about how they got into the field – many of which begin with family.

Live-in care top locations 

Up and down the UK, we provide live-in home care as an alternative care solution. Offering the highest standards to some of the UK’s top cities and towns. 

Live-in care London 

To help older people in London to continue to live independently, we provide high-quality live-in care across the region. 

Live-in care Scotland 

Across Scotland, we can provide the best quality live-in carers to help your loved one continue to live their life to the fullest. Whether you live in Edinburgh or Angus – we can support your care needs. 

Live-in care Birmingham 

In Birmingham, we’re available to provide live-in care services as an alternative to Birmingham care homes for those who are reluctant to go.

Live-in care Manchester 

We are able to provide live-in care services throughout the Manchester region, to provide a high-quality alternative to standard care options.

Frequently asked questions

What is live-in care?

Live-in care is a 24-hour care option for those in later life, where a professional caregiver moves in with a recipient to oversee their wellbeing around the clock.

With specialist training in low to mid-level needs, caregivers are experienced in helping with medical, physical and behavioural issues. They also provide ongoing pastoral support, offering companionship to help your loved one get more out of every day.

To learn more about how live-in care works, take a look at our ‘What is live-in care?’ page.

How much does live-in care cost?

With us, live-in care costs £950 a week. This is a fixed rate, so you won’t need to pay extra for weekends or holidays.

Our care plans work on a weekly basis so that you can adapt instantly to changing circumstances. You can get underway within one working day, and rethink your plan the moment your situation starts to look a little different, you can find out more here.

Is there any financial support available?

There is, though it’s worth noting that the kind your loved one is eligible for depends on their circumstances – both financial and medical.

They may be in the running for assistance from local or national government schemes. They may also be able to release equity in their property to access a tax-free lump sum or income.

To get a better understanding of your options, take a look at our ’How do I pay for care?’ page.

Will a live-in carer look after my loved one’s personal needs?

Absolutely. Live-in carers offer assistance with a huge range of day-to-day requirements – including hygiene and grooming.

Putting your loved one at ease during this sort of care is tricky, but live-in carers are uniquely positioned to do just that. They can devote the time and attention required to build trust, as well as get to know just how much help they need to offer.

To learn more about how they can support your loved one’s personal needs, take a look at our guide on grooming and hygiene.

Do you work with male live-in carers?

Yes, with work with a huge range of people – from a range of backgrounds – both male and female. To us, the most important thing is they’re exceptional at their job.

Do live-in carers provide night-time support?

Of course. Live-in carers move into your loved one’s home to offer 24-hour care – even if that means getting up in the middle of the night.

They’ll help create routines around bedtime, ensuring better quality sleep for improved wellbeing. They might also get your loved one to the toilet if they need it, or put their mind at ease if they’re confused.

To learn more about your loved one’s night-time care, find more details in our ‘How to look after the elderly at night’ guide.

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