As we watch those we love age, our thoughts naturally turn to the likelihood of having to provide care should they become incapable of caring for themselves. Invariably, our first thoughts are towards a care home. But, there is an alternative – live-in care.
We’d like to help you explore the differences between the two options as it can be a little tricky discerning between the two.
Most people have an idea as to what a care home is. There’s been much press surrounding care homes over the past few years and more recently due to the coronavirus pandemic. Live-in care though is a little less well understood.
What is live-in care and what does it mean for your loved one?
Live-in care is exactly what it means; a carer will move into your home and live with you 24/7. A live-in carer will have their own room in your home, and be on hand to provide assistance whenever needed. This is true one-to-one support. It means that you can continue your daily routine, with your carer in support; helping with shopping, meal preparation, housework and supervising any medical requirements or personal care and support issues if disabilities are involved.
A live-in carer is also in direct contact with your closest loved ones in case any problems arise or to routinely update them if they are not able to visit as regularly as they’d like to.
At Better Healthcare, our carers are fully trained professionals with a level of training that enables them to provide a range of support, including physical and emotional.
What are the differences between care homes and live-in care?
Both care options have their individual advantages and disadvantages. To explore these, it may help to identify the main areas we can categories. These are:
Independence: How much does each option allow somebody to maintain their current lifestyle, relationships and routine?
Supervision: What level of oversight does each option provide and what quality of care can be expected?
Consistency: From the level of service a care package can provide to the companionship provided by the care staff.
Adaptation: To what degree does a care recipient need to adapt or their environment need to adapt.
Costs: Aspects of affordability and flexibility.
Let’s now explore each of the live-in care and care home options through these categories.
Care homes come in many forms. Some are referred to as ‘old people’s homes’, although it’s not only older people who find a need for their use. Nursing home, is another term used to describe facilities that can provide a greater level of medical supervision. A convalescent home is where somebody may be cared for during the recovery of a long-term illness or injury. Rest home or retirement home, describes a facility that cares more for somebody that benefits from some supervisor and for some reason or another, may not be able to stay in their home.
Whatever the description, care homes are establishments where people are likely to spend the rest of their days within accommodation provided by the facility. ‘Residents’ can expect communal living, shared nursing staff and meal facilities.
Care homes and Independence
This is perhaps the biggest drawback of a care home. Moving into a care home is a bit like moving house, only this time you are giving up the independence of your own home.
As a resident, your routine is largely determined by the care home, based on meal times, as meals are provided to other residents too, and other arranged activities.
While most care homes are flexible on visiting hours, it’s not the same as somebody just dropping by your own home to say hello. The number of visitors may also be restricted.
Furthermore, if your circumstances change; perhaps a long-term medical problem begins to improve to the point that you could begin to look after yourself again, the care home agreement may be quite restrictive and make that difficult.
In summary, when you move into a care home, you’ll lose a lot of the independence you had living in your own home.
Care homes and supervision
Care homes typically provide a range of staff to accommodate the varying needs of their residents. This ranges from day-care staff supervising the daily routine of the residents, food and nutritional staff, nursing staff training to support the various patient medical needs, staff to help engage and entertain residents, along with those caring, administering, and maintaining for the home itself.
Depending on individual residents’ needs, each will receive the support they need, although the same staff will be supporting other residents too, and these could be quite numerous, meaning that it could take time for your loved one to be attended to unless it’s a serious matter.
Care homes and consistency
This is probably the area where care homes suffer. Staff shifts vary, meaning that the staff will be different throughout the full cycle of a day.
Such ‘inconsistency’ makes it a little more difficult for residents to build a bond with their carers, and therefore, feel at home. Furthermore, if a dislike between a carer and resident occurs, as is all too common in human nature, it is difficult to adjust arranges around, meaning that it’s likely that they will ‘just have to get along’.
Care staff are shared amongst all the care home’s residents, so individual care and attention is a little less personal than perhaps other options could provide.
Essentially, this comes down to how well run the care facility is and how well trained the care staff are.
Care homes and adaptation
Care homes by their very nature, are equipped to satisfy the needs of a wide variety of residents; from those fully able to get around and engage, to those who may be bed-bound or who have limited mobility. Also, some residents may require greater medical supervision and monitoring. They may be required support for particular medical treatments that don’t ordinarily require a patient to be hospitalised – incontinence, respiratory problems, and dementia, are examples.
It’s always possible that a care home resident may have to be moved to a nursing home at some point. This disruption is likely if the level of care required exceeds that of the home they are currently in, which may have been fine up to that point. Naturally, having to move into new and unfamiliar surroundings yet again, is not what anyone would wish for their loved ones.
In summary, a care home, for the most part, should already be fully equipped to deal with most issues and require no adaptation to meet the needs of a resident. The only adaptation is down to the resident and integrating with their new environment, which is often the greatest challenge face by the resident and their family.
Care homes and costs
Not unsurprisingly, the cost of care homes features high on the list of questions people have in relation to long-term care. It’s important to remember too, that care homes are more likely the consideration for longer-term care requirements.
As one might expect, care home costs vary considerably. Just like hotels, there are degrees of luxury and flexibility in the facilities care homes provide.
AgeUK provides a good overview of the average care home weekly costs around the UK. This can be found here. In summary, the average cost of a care home varies between £31,000 to well over £40,000 per year.
While expensive, it is usually all-inclusive, but remember, what is on offer is fairly restrictive where flexibility and your independence is concerned.
How one pays for a care home is another matter. While typically privately funded, financing options are available, but it does depend on your own financial situation. For instance, if you have assets of more than £23,000, you won’t be eligible for financial assistance. For more information on funding options, check out the ageUK website.
The best way to sum up live-in care is the phrase, “there’s no place like home!”
During the recent pandemic, which will no doubt, not be the last, live-in care has been the safest way to look after those in need.
As described earlier, live-in care is exactly what the name suggests. Your carer lives with you in your own home. There are many benefits to a live-in care service which are explored below.
Live-in care and independence
Independence and companionship are perhaps the two single biggest benefits to live-in care.
As we age, most of us dread the loss of our independence and the freedom to be able to move around our own homes and see our neighbours, friends, and relatives as we please.
With live-in care, you can retain that precious freedom. There’s no need to move. Your carer will move into a spare room and assist with your everyday needs. Depending on your circumstances, this can range from assistance with personal care and grooming, administering medications and attending to other mid-level medical needs, assistance around the home, meal preparation, and most of all, providing a caring and supportive companionship. A full list as to what you can expect can be found here.
Also, in this day and age where you never know who is knocking at the door or what scam is likely to be perpetrated, it’s comforting to know that your loved one has somebody around them 24/7 who can keep a watchful eye over such matters.
Live-in care and supervision
With a carer with you 24/7, it’s clear that supervision is entirely dedicated and tailored to your needs. Unlike a care home, only one person is dedicated to the task of supervising you or your loved one. This means that they become intimately familiar with their needs and there’s no chance of getting mixed up with somebody else.
As your carer gets to know you or your loved one personally and quite intimately over time, they know what you like and don’t like. It’s difficult getting used to somebody living with you, although not as tough as moving home, but as time goes by, a live-in carer will become a friend and close companion.
In any relationship, especially one where people are in close contact with each other for long periods of time, there’s always the possibility that you may not get along with each other. This is entirely natural, it’s just human nature. You need not worry though as you’ll get to meet your carer and assess them before they come on board. After all, this is a relationship that must work both ways. Even if after a period of time things don’t appear to be working out, a carer can be changed, unlike a care home.
Live-in care and consistency
The advantages of live-in care keep getting better. Having the same person tend to your daily needs and becoming a companion, is guaranteed to ensure consistency.
A live-in carer doesn’t stop work and hand over to somebody else at different times of the day. Of course, they do have breaks – usually a set number of hours a week. During this time we arrange cover for them with other staff.
Naturally, carer’s like anyone, need to take longer breaks – a holiday for instance. We arrange cover from another qualified member of staff, possibly the same person who stands in while the main carer is on their break.
The main consideration though is to ensure a consistently strong and healthy relationship with the client at all times with the minimal amount of interruption.
Live-in care and adaptation
Individual circumstances and care needs vary greatly. In considering the well-being of a loved one who wishes to stay at home and receive live-in care, some particular issues need to be assessed.
The main consideration is whether or not the home itself is suitably equipped to handle the needs of a person in care. For instance:
- Are they entirely mobile or do they need assistance around the home with physical aids, such as when climbing the stairs?
- What safety equipment is installed around the home?
- When showering or bathing, are the facilities in the home suitably accessible and safe or do stability accessories such as has support rails, bath lifts, stairlifts or ramps need to be installed?
Ensuring the home in which the person is receiving care is suitable for the task, can be a make or break moment as to whether a care home is a better choice.
There may be significant costs associated with equipping the home with the necessary care facilities, these added to the cost of care, may tip the balance in favour of a care home, depending on the expected duration of care. Also, there are costs associated with accommodating the carer in the client’s own home: having their own bedroom facilities, kitchen cupboard, etc.
Live-in care and costs
A potentially significant consideration where live-in care is concerned is that live-in care is suitable for both short and long-term care, i.e. from a matter of a few weeks to many years. In this respect, the flexibility it offers can outweigh some of the cost issues, even though costs can be comparable with those of a full-time care home placement.
For comparison, Better healthcare’s Live-in care services start at around £1020 a week. But then how can you put a price on somebody you love?
Live-in care with Better Healthcare
We’ve been providing care services to the communities in the East and South of England for many years and have support offices in 8 regions.
Our carers know the areas they work in well. They are well trained and capable of dealing with most situations that can occur when living full time with somebody who needs 24 / 7 supervision.
In choosing a live-in care package from Better Healthcare, you can rest assured that the comfort, independence, and safety of your loved one is in good hands. So why not give one of our offices a call today and find out how we can help protect your loved one in need of care.