Live-in care – everything you need to know

Live-in care provides full-time care in your own home. In this guide, we run through everything you need to know about how it works day-to-day, and how Elder can help you to put it in place.

Quick overview

Live-in carers are experienced to care for a range of needs, including personal care and supporting those living with chronic conditions or things that impact daily life, such as dementia, hearing loss, vision loss or limited mobility.

It can provide better value for money as you’ll have your own dedicated carer. Plus, the value of your home is excluded from the financial means test if you’re applying for council funding, which may increase your chances of receiving financial support.

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 – which we’ll cover in more detail below.

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.

A live-in carer can provide support with a number of things – from getting to the toilet and medication prompting, to housekeeping tasks and companionship.

If you’re looking at care options for yourself or a loved one but are uncomfortable with the idea of a residential home, live-in care could be the solution. Live-in care fees are often comparable with care homes, with the additional benefit of receiving one-to-one personalised care from a dedicated carer, in the most familiar environment.

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

What does a live-in carer do?

Live-in caregivers perform a range of domestic and personal care duties to support wellbeing. Exactly what your carer will support with will be bespoke to your care requirements, but common tasks include – 


From vacuuming and sanitising surfaces, to laundry and staying on top of clutter, carers can help keep the house clean and tidy to ensure it’s safe, comfortable and relaxing.

Getting dressed and ready

They'll offer a delicate, reassuring hand to get into clothes and help a person look their best.

Personal care

Carers will provide discreet and sensitive support with intimate tasks such as washing and toileting.

Preparing meals

They'll provide nutritious meals to suit individual tastes and dietary requirements, and ensuring hydration is prioritised.

Emergency response

Being there 24/7 means carers will raise the alarm and get the right medical support at the first sign that something's not right.

Medication prompting

Carers help ensure any medication is taken at the right time, at the right dose (as per the prescription instructions)


Carers can help keep older people moving and encourage gentle exercise. They can also ensure any activity advised by a medical professional is followed.

Running errands

From picking up a prescription in the chemist, to doing the weekly food shop, carers can help with a wide range of everyday errands.


Carers will be there to listen and chat to, encourage hobbies, and help an older person to maintain an active and fulfilling social life.

Pet care

For pet owners, a carer can help feed, exercise, and clean up after household pets

When is live-in care suitable?

Live-in care is an excellent option for anyone who has care needs but wants to keep their current lifestyle for as long as they can. It’s an alternative option for those with a variety of complex care needs – including those who live with vision or hearing loss, have survived a stroke, or are living with dementia. It’s available for individuals and couples.

When visiting care is no longer enough

Care needs are likely to change with time, and people receiving care visits at home will often reach a point where they need more than a couple of hours support each day. People who are at risk of falls or injury, are likely to wander and get lost, or who are struggling to manage vital medication can rarely go for long periods home alone, and live-in care can keep them safe and provide peace of mind to their families. 

When you’re unable to settle in a care home 

Some people will just naturally not be a good fit for a care home. Introverted people may find living with others overwhelming, while other may not see themselves as ‘old’ and find it difficult to bond with other residents. Adapting to the routine of the home – such as when to eat or wake up, or being unable to leave the grounds when they want can be really difficult too.  

When couples with different needs want to stay together

It can be a huge, life-changing moment to have a partner of many years move into residential care. Live-in care can provide care at home, ensuring both get the tailored support they need. If only one spouse needs care, a professional carer can help lighten the load for their partner, making it easier to run errands and keep on top of housekeeping. 

When you’re being discharged from hospital 

If you or a loved one is in hospital, you may need to have care in place before being discharged. Live-in care allows people to return home to finish their recovery in a familiar and comfortable space, away from the noise and bright lights of a hospital ward. It can help them get back to their routine and begin easing into daily tasks. 

When you require specialist care 

Because live-in care is one-to-one, 24-hour care it can be ideal for those living with a wide range of medical conditions. It can provide tailored support to minimise and manage dementia symptoms, and can help those who have experienced life changing conditions such as a stroke, heart attack or hip fracture to regain a sense of normality and independence. 

When you have a small or distant support network

A live-in carer can be a great source of companionship because they aren’t rushing from one client to the next, and have time to really get to know the person they’re caring for. If family and friends live far away a carer can provide peace of mind and keep the family updated of important moments and health changes too.

Joanne, Patricia, and Rose’s live-in care story

Joanne and her mum, Patricia, have been with Elder since 2017. Patricia has mild dementia, but that doesn’t stop her enjoying life. Joanne shared with us how Rose, their live-in carer has made a different to both their lives. 

Rose knows how to get my mum up and out of the house. It can sometimes be tricky to get her out of bed but once she’s out, she always really enjoys it.

Rose has made a big effort to get to know Mum’s life and what makes her tick. It’s incredible how she’s really become part of the local community, just like Mum. She integrated really well and that comes down to the fact that whatever my mum does, Rose does too. They’re a bit of a dynamic duo together. 

My mum is nicknamed the ‘Dancing Diva’ – as soon as she hears music, she dances! They go to a group called Everyone Can Sing and as soon as Mum hears the first notes playing, she’s up dancing. At first Rose was a bit shy, but now they dance together!

They also have concerts and sing together. This is great because it really brings people together – our whole family goes along to watch and Rose’s family do too. When we were looking for a carer, we were looking at the more professional things, you know, ‘is Mum going to be safe?’ and things like that.

We’ve been really pleasantly surprised how a real friendship has flourished. It means Mum has a real companion – someone who knows her really well. It’s lovely to see and makes her so happy.

The biggest thing for mum is her cat, Adele. We adopted her when she was a little cat with no fur, but we nursed her back to heath

she now has a full, black coat. Adele is the focal point of mum’s life – she gives her order, and something to look after.  

Elder customer Patricia, her family, and her Live-in Carer Rose enjoying a show together.

Emptying the litter tray might not be something everyone wants to do, but Rose has never complained once.

Mum has a free bus pass, which gives them both a bit of freedom to go on trips together. Rose sends me WhatsApp pictures of their days out – it’s lovely to see what they’re up to, you know, but also really reassuring to see Mum so happy.

The benefits of live-in care

Live-in care has many benefits for both you and your loved ones.

It’s consistent, around-the-clock care, offering peace of mind for family and friends who can’t be there themselves, as well as dedicated, bespoke care to the person being supported.  Because it’s provided by one full-time carer, it offers consistency of care, and builds a level of trust and friendship between the carer and receiver. 

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.

Live-in care provides better value than a residential care home, as you get more support for your money. Unlike in a care home, where staff members are looking after multiple residents at a time, you’ll get full-time, one-to-one care from a carer of your choice. 

A significant proportion of care home fees go towards accommodation, housekeeping and catering, and may include services that aren’t relevant to your needs, such as hairdressing or group activities. This means less is dedicated to the care itself. With live-in care your carer will be dedicated to you – adapting to your needs and your routine which ensures you’ll only pay for the care you’re receiving.

A Man and Woman in a Local Library Using a Computer and Laughing

Help with funding

In some cases, you may be able to receive full or partial funding from the local council. To get started, you need to speak directly to social services and complete a care needs assessment and financial assessment to work out if you’re eligible. 

Once this is completed, you should be able to request to receive any funding you’re entitled to as a direct payment, or Self Directed Support if you’re in Scotland. This puts you in control of how you spend it. The payments must be enough to provide quality care for the needs that your local authority has assessed you as having. However, if your preferred choice of care provider is more expensive than your Local Authority’s ‘recommendation’, then, it’ll be down to your family to cover the shortfall.

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.

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 OR disability benefits

Other options for funding are –

  • Downsizing
  • Lifetime mortgages
  • Home reversion plans
  • NHS Continuing Healthcare

To find out more about funding and start exploring your options, we’ve shared useful links and resources here. 

Two Older Woman Knitting together at a social club

Social benefits

You or 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.

You can continue to visit regular clubs, events or places of worship. You can continue to see friends and family as you please and there’s no reason your social life should change dramatically just because you need care.

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.

My mum has always been really independent, with an active social life and into sports – I wanted her to be able to keep as much of that as possible.

Health benefits

It’s estimated that half of over 80s fall at least once a year. Live-in care has been linked with a reduction in falls, with a report suggesting people who are cared for at home experience a third fewer falls than care home residents. in comparison to residential care. Research also indicates that someone is almost 3x more likely to experience a hip fracture if they are in a care home than if they receive live-in care in their own home.

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.

Live-in care can also be incredibly beneficial to help people leave hospital sooner – which can be critically important. up to 50% of older people can become incontinent within 48 hours of being in hospital. Muscle strength can reduce by up to 10%, and being in hospital can have a big impact on dignity, independence and choice too.

An Older Lady Swimming in a Local Leisure Centre

Within weeks of his arrival Tabby was encouraging Dad to walk to the garden gate and back... since then Dad has grown in confidence and ability. Tabby has also introduced him to yoga – and he’s really enjoying it! It’s all down to how great a carer Tabby is, and the matching process from Elder.

An Older Woman Reading at Home Under a Blanket, Recently discharged from Hospital

Lifestyle benefits

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 may help 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.

2022 Research by the Live in Care Hub also found that unfortunately, due to the on-going impact of the covid-19 pandemic, many care home residents have lost basic freedoms, such as popping to the shops. In fact, in 1/4 of homes surveyed, residents were not allowed out of the grounds for a walk. Live-in care ensures a person’s routine and lifestyle are protected. 

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 help families to put in place.

24-hour live-in care

24-hour live-in care is available for those with more advanced care needs. While all live-in carers, 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 is ideal for ensuring you or your loved one receives specialist support from a carer with considerable skills and experience in caring for specific conditions. 

Companionship care

With loneliness in the elderly becoming a concern, it’s essential to ensure older loved ones are happy, secure and cared for. Companionship care provides a friend to talk to, who can help with tricky errands and keeping 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 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 the right support in place as quickly as possible – often under 24 hours.

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 recovers in your own space.

Overnight care

Overnight care can help to ensure you or your loved one is safe, comfortable and secure overnight. A carer will be on hand to support with anything from incontinence to providing reassurance or dealing with 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.

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 or your loved one’s situation.

How to arrange live-in care

If 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 (as in making an informal arrangement or hiring directly), arranging it through a fully-managed agency, or with an introductory agency (such as Elder). There are advantages and disadvantages to each, depending on the level of control or input you’d like

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.

An asian woman helping an older lady to prepare a meal in the kitchen

Why choose Elder for live-in care? 

Your choice of carer

We’ll help you handpick a great self-employed carer from thousands of background checked and competency-assessed candidates. We look at 25+ criteria points to find carers with the right skills, experience, and personality. 

We move at your speed

Whether you’re in need of care within the next 24 hours, or are planning for the future, our expert care advisors will ensure you have the information and support you need to make a confident care decision. 

Personalised support

You’ll have one point of contact who’ll guide you through the process of arranging live-in care, and our family support team is here to help once care’s started. And if you have an urgent question, we’re here by phone or online chat 365 days a year. 

Transparent pricing

Unlike many care companies we’re clear about the cost of live-in care. We also don’t charge any upfront costs, or surcharges over bank holidays or weekends. 

How Elder works

We’ve been connecting families and carers since 2016, and understand that having someone live in your home is a big step, which is why we ensure, through our matching service, that your opinions and preferences are really listened to. It means we can help find an experienced carer who’ll suit your situation for the long-term. In fact, 9 out of 10 families find their ideal carer first time. 

You’ll have the chance to read all about each carers’ experience through their carer profiles, watch their introductory video and can easily chat to your favourites to get to know them better before deciding if they’re the right fit.

And, our MyElder platform makes it easier to arrange and manage on-going care. Keep health and care details up to date, Manage your care schedule, book respite cover when it’s time for your carer to take a break, and invite family members to view and collaborate with you, all in one place.

An Elder Live-in Carer Helping Reading a Magazine with an Older Lady at Home

No joining fees

No lengthy contract 

2x nightly wake-ups included 

1 week trial period for full-time care

35% cheaper on average

Elder’s pricing 

Elder’s live-in care services start from £1095 for one person, and guarantees no hidden charges for weekends or bank holidays. There’s also no additional costs for joining our platform, our carer matching service, or finding a suitable respite carer when it’s time for your main carer to take a break. The fee you pay for your care will be based on the level of care you need, so you’ll never pay more than you have too. For an individual care quote, give our care advisors a call. 

With Elder you’ll only pay for additional services if you need them. If you require a carer with a car, or someone who can provide additional spousal support, we’ll add these to your package only when requested. One thing you will need to make arrangements for is your carer’s weekly food budget. You can do this by working it out directly with the carer, or you can simply ask one of our team to provide a managed food budget. We’d typically suggest £40 per week towards your carer’s meals. 

Peggy’s dementia meant she found it difficult to settle in and feel comfortable in a care home. Here, her daughter Jill shares how Peggy felt much more herself again back at home with the support of her live-in carer Jennifer.  

Two Live-in Carers Sharing a Coffee At Elder's Headquarters.

Who are the carers on our platform?

At Elder, we understand it can be difficult to let someone you don’t know into your home, which is why we vet every self-employed care professional we work with to the highest standards. Read their stories by clicking the button below.

If you’re experienced in providing high-quality care, why not join our community of live in carers? View and apply for our latest carer jobs here. 

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