How to find a carer

Quick summary

  • There are a range of different ways you can arrange live-in care for your loved one.
  • Whether you are looking to privately arrange live-in care, use a live-in care provider or an introductory agency – there is plenty to consider.
  • It is essential when arranging live-in care to consider your loved one’s best interests and personal circumstances.

If you’ve decided to employ a live-in carer to provide support for your loved one, there are various ways you can go about finding a suitable person.

This form of elderly care offers one of the best ways to help an older person remain safe and independent in their own home, when their care needs increase. However, because it’s dedicated, one-on-one care, getting the right person is essential.

That’s not just down to skill, background checks – or even experience – it goes to the heart of who your loved one is. What they enjoy doing. What type of person they get on with. Ultimately, how they like to live their life. Having a holistic view of your loved one’s needs is crucial when arranging live-in care.

Even though a carer is there to support them with the practical elements of life, they’re also there to enable your loved one to have the best possible time they can. That means companionship. It means friendship. It means building a relationship of mutual trust and understanding. 

There’s a lot at stake, so you want to make sure you get the right person. And, although you should always be aware that a great relationship won’t always happen overnight, there are a few options you can try to help improve your chances of finding the right professional. That’s what we’re about to run through.

Who can help you arrange live-in care?

For many, the first step in the process of arranging care will be to organise a care needs assessment with their local authority. This will not only help define specific care needs but also gets the ball rolling in terms of deciding what type of care is most suitable and also begins the process of getting your funding eligibility assessed.

Your local authority, or NHS clinical commissioning group if your loved one is hospital, should then be able to assist with going through care options with you.

Often, social workers or occupational therapists – the professionals helping you out with care decisions – won’t automatically raise the prospect of live-in care with you. So, if this is an option you’re favouring, you need to be proactive and ask them for more information. If you’ve already picked a favoured company, you should ask them about direct payments.

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The easiest and most reliable way to arrange live-in care

At Elder, we understand that putting care in place can feel like a stressful process. That’s why we’ve made it easy to arrange a carer you can trust.

What kind of home care support is available?

Live-in carers offer various forms of home support for their care recipients, from helping them to get dressed to cooking their meals, from taking them to the toilet to accompanying them on trips around the local neighbourhood. They’re ultimately there to allow people to remain independent while ensuring they’re safe, healthy and comfortable.

Elder live-in carers have to meet our standards, which detail what is expected of your live-in carer – including domestic duties and personal care.

Domestic duties

Live-in carers are available to help with the domestic duties around the home – from keeping a tidy house to preparing and cooking meals. They’re available to help with various tasks which may be difficult for the care recipient to complete on their own. Some of the domestic duties expected of an Elder carer are:

Keeping the house tidy

Activities and companionship

Shopping for food and household items

Cooking favoured nutritious meals

Communication with the client’s family

Ensuring all pets are well looked after

Personal care

In addition to assisting with general housekeeping and domestic tasks, live-in carers are expected and able to assist with a variety of personal care needs from assistance with toileting to getting dressed.

Elder carers understand that accepting personal care assistance can be complex and therefore approach all personal care scenarios with understanding. Some of the personal care support offered is:

Washing and grooming

Support and toileting

Nutrition and hydration

Sleep and night-time support

Mobility assistance

Help with medication

Different types of care

There are different types of live-in care which one may consider when looking into care options. First of all – the way you arrange live-in care will be considered. There are some different ways to arrange live-in care – privately, through a live-in care provider and through an introductory agency.

Additionally, you will want to consider whether your loved one may require complex care – live-in care specialists, such as Elder, will be able to offer you tailored specialist care dependant on your loved ones needs.

Private live-in care

Advantages

  • You can choose the carer yourself – usually a friend or family member.
  • You have control over the arrangements.
  • The carer lives in the home and is available for around the clock support.

Disadvantages

  • Legal employer obligations, such as holiday and sick pay.
  • You’re responsible for arranging any respite care.
  • It can cause personal rifts if the carer is a friend or family member. 

You may decide to employ someone to provide in-home care directly. This can work out for some people, but there is a fair amount of work to do, and you will have various legal responsibilities that may add to your stress levels rather than reducing them.

Firstly you need to find a suitable candidate for the role. A friend or family member may appear to fit the bill, but problems may arise in your relationship with the carer since you will be their caregiver as well as their friend.

Even if you think you know someone well, it is advisable to get a DBS check and take up two written references before offering them employment. If you have advertised for someone to provide elderly care and employ someone you do not know, this is even more crucial.

As an employer, you will have to meet certain legal obligations. These include providing the person employed to deliver twenty-four hour care at home with a written statement of employment or contract, and paying them accordingly.

In addition to being paid at least the National Minimum Wage, your employee will also qualify for holiday pay and statutory sick pay. You will also need to ensure they are covered by Public Liability Insurance and Employers Liability Insurance.

Other responsibilities include ensuring that the carer does not work over the maximum allowed hours in a week and allowing them adequate rest breaks. You will be responsible for the carer’s health and safety and will need to provide them with written details of disciplinary and grievance procedures.

You may also be responsible for their Income Tax and National Insurance affairs, and for making pension contributions in some cases, so you will need to research your obligations with the HMRC.

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Arranging private live-in care

There are a few different ways to go about arranging live-in care privately, although each of them brings about specific risks and concerns as discussed above – in terms of legal requirements and employment terms.

Private live-in care is usually arranged with a friend or family member – however, there are other ways to find a live-in carer privately such as on websites like Gumtree or posting on job sites and/or local job boards.

Alternatively, rather than arranging live-in care privately and employing a carer directly – you can use a live-in care provider or introductory agency who will handle the legal requirements for you.

Using a fully-managed live-in care provider

Advantages

  • An easy and safe way to find a reputable care provider.
  • You don’t have to worry about legal and employment obligations.
  • Live-in care providers are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Disadvantages

  • Often a lengthy process as the carer is employed directly by the provider.
  • Is usually a lot more expensive than either private or introductory agencies.
  • Often much less choice over the carer that’s coming in.

This is one of the easier ways to find the right person to provide 24/7 care for your loved one. It is easier and safer to use a reputable care provider to supply a professional live-in carer, and you will not have all the worry of administering their tax and National Insurance matters because you will simply pay the fees to the care provider who then pays the carer’s wages.

Although you will not directly employ the carer, you and your loved one will be able to specify what care is needed and what other tasks are expected as part of the arrangement. This usually includes laundry, light housework, shopping and cooking, but may also encompass tasks such as caring for pets.

The vast majority of fully-managed providers are regulated by the CQC. This means you’re able to access their rating on the Commission’s website. While this is reassuring, you should also be sure to ask tough questions about vetting, skills and experience.

Using an introductory agency

Advantages

  • Quick and simple way of finding a qualified live-in carer. 
  • Introductory agencies have already carried out all screening and necessary checks for you.
  • With Elder, for example, your loved one is matched with a carer based on their care needs and personality. 
  • Respite care is arranged by the agency, quickly and easily, whenever necessary.

Disadvantages

  • Carers are not employed directly by the agency.
  • Carers are self-employed and therefore responsible for their own tax payments. Although they get support with this.
  • Companies like Elder do not fall under the regulation of the CQC, so they have their own vetting processes.
  • You take on a slightly more hands-on role in managing your carer.

An introduction service for live-in carers is offered by some agencies. This is less complicated and quicker than employing someone directly because the agency will have carried out the necessary pre-employment checks to screen for suitable candidates.

If you opt for a live-in carer who has been introduced by one of these agencies, they will normally be registered as self-employed. This is an advantage, as they will be responsible for their own National Insurance payments and Income Tax return.

You will still be able to select the best candidate, and if your loved one needs specialist care such as dementia care, you can specify your requirements to the introduction agency so that they put forward candidates with the right experience and qualifications.

In addition to this, an introductory agency will be able to help arrange respite care quickly and simply whenever the primary carer needs a break – so you don’t have to worry about it.

Elder is an introductory agency

Specialist care

Independent living can still be possible for people with cognitive difficulties such as Alzheimer’s disease and other complex conditions.

In fact, dementia care is ideally provided in the home since people with this condition can easily become upset or agitated if they have to leave their familiar environment.

When you approach the care provider, you will have an opportunity to discuss all your loved one’s care needs and wishes, and they will ensure that the carer who is selected has all the necessary experience and training.

One way of finding a suitable provider of elderly care is by personal recommendation from someone who has experience of the service. Asking the provider about the recruitment, ongoing supervision and training of their staff will also indicate whether the service they offer will be suitable to make the quality of your loved one’s life as good as it can be.

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Complex care

Depending on the care needs of the care recipient, specialist live-in care is available for a variety of complex care needs such as:

  • Alzheimer’s care
  • Arthritis care
  • COPD care
  • Diabetes care
  • Heart disease care
  • Motor neurone care
  • Multiple sclerosis care
  • Osteoporosis care
  • Parkinson’s care
  • Stroke care

How Elder can help

Elder makes a conscious effort to ensure the whole family is involved in arranging care for their loved one in order to ensure the best outcome for everybody.

Everyone can have a free consultation with one of our expert care team – in which various aspects of the arrangement can be discussed, from funding live-in care to understanding whether it is the most suitable option.

From there, you can complete an application form and begin the matching process. Our dedicated matching team will work with your family to ensure your loved one is matched with a carer based on both their care needs and personality.

Following this, you will receive an introductory video of your carer and their profile so the whole family can make an informed decision – once confirmed your trial week can begin and you can manage your care easily with My Elder.

Discover every detail about live-in care in our 32-page brochure

Frequently asked questions

How do you arrange care at home?

Depending on the specific type of home care you are looking for, you can arrange it through a variety of channels. If you wish to have your local council help with homecare you will need to start by asking for a care needs assessment and from there you can arrange homecare with the help of your local council.
Alternatively, if you are looking to privately arrange home care you can look at homecare agencies and live-in care specialists. You can arrange live-in care privately with family members, although this does carry its own risks.
A live-in care provider or introductory agency will be able to help you arrange live-in care with specialist, trained live-in carers.

Will the council pay for a live-in carer?

Depending on your loved one’s financial circumstances, the local council may help fund a live-in carer. The first step in this process is to contact social services and request a care assessment.
For those who are not eligible for local authority funding, there are additional measures which can be taken to help with funding live-in care such as claiming relevant elderly benefits and accessing private savings. You can find out more about funding live-in care here.

Can I have a live-in carer?

Any person who has care needs but wishes to retain a level of independence and remain in their own home can have a live-in carer. A live-in carer can live in your home to help with housekeeping tasks, assist with personal care and provide companionship to ensure quality of life is maintained whilst care needs are being met alongside any medical treatments if necessary.

What does live-in carer mean?

A live-in carer is someone who is fully trained in elderly care, who lives with a care recipient in their own home to provide them with around the clock care and company. A live-in carer is able to support people with their specific care needs as well as personal care requirements and housekeeping tasks.

Customer snapshots

Whether it’s getting up on the dance floor, forming lasting friendships or offering complete peace of mind to loved ones, a live-in carer can be transformative. These videos include families discussing why they chose 24-hour care at home and how it was arranged, as well as snapshots of how those receiving care find it.

Paying for care