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How to find a carer

Quick summary

  • There are a range of different ways you can arrange and fund 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 are plenty of options to consider.
  • It’s essential when arranging live-in care to keep your loved one’s best interests and personal circumstances at the heart of the conversation.

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

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

It’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, and 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. And, although you should always be aware that a great relationship won’t always happen overnight, we’ve shared a few options you can try, to improve your chances of finding the right carer.

Who can help you arrange live-in care?

For many, the first step in 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 begins the process of getting your funding eligibility assessed.

Your local authority, or NHS clinical commissioning group (if your loved one is in hospital), should then be able to go 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 also ask them about direct payments, so that you have complete control over how any funding available to you is used.


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 care with 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 get dressed, and taking them to the toilet, to   accompanying them on trips around the local neighbourhood. They’re ultimately there to help people stay independent, while ensuring they’re safe, healthy and comfortable.

Elder live-in carers have to meet our standards, which also 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 care recipient’s family

Ensuring any pets are well looked after

Personal care

In addition to assisting with general housekeeping and domestic tasks, live-in carers assist with a variety of personal care needs.

Elder carers understand that accepting personal care assistance can be complex. Loved ones may feel too proud to admit they need support in this way, or worry about a loss of dignity. Therefore, carers approach all personal care scenarios with patience and 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 live-in care options

There are different types of live-in care to consider when looking into care options, and some different ways to arrange live-in care – privately, through a live-in care provider or through an introductory agency, such as Elder.

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

Private live-in care


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


  1. Legal employer obligations, such as holiday and sick pay.
  2. You’re responsible for arranging any respite care.
  3. 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 be a sensible choice, but problems may arise in your relationship with the carer since you will be their employer, as well as their friend.

Even if you think you know someone well, it’s advisable to get a DBS check and 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’ll 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’ll 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’ll need to research your obligations with the HMRC.


Arranging private live-in care

There are a few different ways to go about arranging live-in care privately, although each of them brings 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.

What is a live-in care agency? 

A live-in care agency specialises in providing home care, and their live-in carers are matched with those who need support based on a number of factors, before being placed. 

If you choose to use a live-in care agency, you generally have two options – using a fully managed agency or an introductory agency. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll cover in more detail. 

Using a fully-managed live-in care provider


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


  1. Often a lengthy process as the carer is employed directly by the provider.
  2. Is usually a lot more expensive than either private or introductory agencies.
  3. 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’s easier and safer to use a reputable care provider to supply a professional live-in carer, and you’ll not have all the worry of sorting 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’ll 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 the company’s vetting process, as well as each carer’s skills and experience.

Using an introductory agency


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


  1. Carers are not employed directly by the agency.
  2. Carers are self-employed and therefore responsible for their own tax payments. Although they get support with this.
  3. Companies like Elder do not fall under the regulation of the CQC, so they have their own vetting processes.
  4. 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’ll 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’ll 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.


First steps to arranging care

  1. Consider the best care option for your loved one, and for you. 
  2. Seek a care assessment from your local authority or NHS
  1. Request a direct payment 
  • Following an assessment by your local authority or the NHS, and once you have your personal budget, you can request for the money to be paid into your bank account. This gives you control over the funding. 
  1. Arrange care with your chosen care company 
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 conditions.

In fact, dementia care is ideally provided in the home, since people living with this condition can easily become upset or agitated in an unfamiliar environment.

When you approach the care provider, you’ll 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, and have a positive impact on your loved one’s quality of life.

How Elder can help

Elder makes a conscious effort to involve the whole family in arranging care, to ensure the best outcome for everybody.

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

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 their care needs, personality, and interests.



MyElder lets you manage your care all in one place – you can update payment details, read carer profiles and keep all your loved one’s details up to date.

Following this, you’ll  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.

Frequently asked questions

What is live-in care?

Live-in care offers 24-hour a day support for those with care needs, including complex care. A live-in carer helps with personal care, medical care, housekeeping tasks and daily errands, as well as things such as cooking and pet care. Live-in care also provides your loved one with full-time companionship and support in anything they need.

Who chooses live-in care?

Live-in care is a great option for those who wish to retain their independence, whilst still receiving full-time care and support. For those with general care needs to those with complex care requirements including dementia, Parkinson’s and stroke recovery – live-in care provides full-time support for medical treatment as well as day-to-day care.

How do you arrange care at home?

Depending on the specific type of home care you’re looking for, you can arrange it through a variety of channels. If you wish to have your local council help with home care you’ll need to start by asking for a care needs assessment, and from there you can arrange home care with the help of your local council.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to privately arrange home care you can look at home care 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.

What do private live-in carers do?

A private live-in carer is someone who will live in your loved ones home and take care of their care needs. If they’re privately arranged you will be responsible for their employment – including sick pay, holiday entitlement and respite care.

How much does live-in care cost?

Live-in care, whilst sometimes considered an expensive option, is actually very cost-effective considering the level of care and support offered by live-in carers.  Live-in care costs £950 a week with no hidden charges and with various funding options available, from public to private, it’s much more affordable than you may think.

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 stay in their own home can have a live-in carer. Some of the most common reasons for having a live-in carer can be due to recovery from an illness, leaving hospital after surgery or beginning to find general tasks a little more difficult.

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. At Elder we go to great lengths to make sure our carers are of the highest standards – with a minimum of 12 months care experience.

Paying for care