When a loved one needs more help than you or a visiting carer can provide, it doesn’t mean they have to go into a home.

Live-in care can be a great alternative to traditional care homes. Here, Caroline Freeman, director of services at Eaton Bespoke, explains more about the service.

Choosing the right care provision for yourself or an elderly family member can be a difficult, emotional and daunting task.

The pressures of work and our own home life commitments often mean that we can’t personally provide round-the-clock care for a loved one. As a result of this, challenging decisions often have to be made. It can sometimes feel as if a care home is the only option, however, there are alternatives.

What is live-in care?

Having a live-in carer means dedicated one-on-one support. As a result, your loved one can feel safe and protected by staff while having as much freedom to do the things they want to in their own home, regardless of their disability or other needs.

What do live-in carers do?

Consider live-in care as a kind of housekeeper ‘plus’ service. A fully-trained member of staff lives in and has the skills to meet the needs of the client. This includes personal care and medication. The live-in care does not stop there though, as they also can assist with daily chores, for instance:

  • Cooking,
  • Cleaning,
  • Laundry,
  • Helping with the shopping,
  • Arranging social excursions,
  • Accompanying to essential appointments for example, hospitals and dentists.

Who can they help?

Live-in carers can look after people who just need some daily assistance to live their lives to the full, for example, help with personal care and help eating, through to those with specific, complex care needs. They are equipped to look after people with a range conditions, including:

  • Alzheimer’s and dementia,
  • Stroke,
  • Parkinson’s,
  • Multiple Sclerosis,
  • Cancer,
  • Palliative/end of life conditions,
  • People with reduced mobility,
  • Those requiring post-operative rehabilitation.

They can also provide much needed respite services, this could be during family holidays, Christmas or just to help you get back on your feet following hospital discharge.

With a live-in service, you can be assured that you or your loved one is completely safe, no matter what time of day it is. Above all this service ensures that a client with even complex conditions can maintain a level of independence in their own home.

More than just a care service

A live-in carer also provides much-needed companionship. They can support those in their care to maintain interests, in addition to taking them to visit friends and family or to local places of interest.

Having a live-in carer enables your loved one to make their own choices and to stay at home, with all of their things around them – their memories too. Retaining a degree of independence, freedom and self-sufficiency are crucial parts of an elderly person’s overall physical and mental health and wellbeing.

What’s more, they will benefit from the companionship of someone they like and trust – someone who also is highly trained, respectful and compassionate, who has been hand-picked for them.

At Eaton, we also offer a bespoke ‘concierge’ service. Which provides reliable tradespeople to help in the garden, look after your pets and other tasks around the home.

Sharing your home

One of the most obvious questions people have about live-in care is how does it work practically?

Live-in carers, as the name suggests, live in with their clients, as such, they will require their own room.

Preparing for your carer

You will need to plan for the arrival of your live-in carer, which will be much like having a permanent house guest, only they will do the household chores too. He/she will need their own bedroom with storage for clothes and personal items, as well as a set of bed linen, access to a bathroom, a television and internet access, if possible.

Insurance

Your care provider will help you keep everything in order around the home, including providing advice regarding notifying your insurers that the carer will be living in and if required notifying your car insurer to enable them to drive your vehicle if needed.

Mealtimes

With a carer, mealtimes often become a friendly occasion, with staff cooking for those in their care, as well as enjoying meals with them too (unless asked not to). If a client or couple prefer to eat alone, your carer will completely understand.

Housekeeping

As a carer will be running errands for you, such as doing the shopping, it is advisable to open a bank account specifically for them. A debit card you transfer a budget into will make day to day purchases simpler.

Alternatively, you can keep a petty cash tin in the home which you can top up in exchange for receipts of agreed items which are purchased on your behalf.

Discuss this with your chosen provider to find the option that best suits you.

Constant care

Each care plan is different and your carer will need to take holidays and to have breaks for training, etc. A good care provider will work with you to ensure that you always have appropriate cover on these occasions.

Power of Attorney

It is part of your care provider’s duty to ensure that life runs as smoothly as possible for you. Now might be the time to consider the appointment of a lasting power of attorney (LPA). This is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.

This will give you more control over what happens if, for example while you are receiving care, you were to have an accident or an illness and can’t make decisions.

Finally, a good live-in care company will ensure they match you with a carer whose interests match yours – and someone, most of all, you get along with!

Staying connected

Eaton has a real-time digital care system in place to support each client. This way, family or relatives can monitor the care being received themselves via a family app.

It’s reassuring to be a part of your loved one’s care journey in this way.

Other live-in care services will have similar systems to keep you in the loop.

How do I choose a live-in care provider?

The Care Choices Search for Care function includes information about live-in care providers around the UK, which you can search for via a postcode.

You can arrange live-in care:

  • Privately
  • Through an introductory agency where carers are self employed
  • Or through a company that employs carers and manages their services for you.

Whilst you may be totally happy to find and privately employ your own live-in carer, a good agency and managed service will organise for a manager to fully assess your needs. They will also support you and your family with choosing the carers, taking some of the hard work away.

There is no right or wrong way – just different ways. Choose the best for you, the one you feel most comfortable with.

Many live-in care services, particularly those who offer a managed service  employing their own carers have many benefits including being registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who regulate and monitor the service. Searching for companies with a Good rating can be a good place to start your search.


About the Author

Caroline Freeman is Director of Operations at Eaton Bespoke. Eaton provide award-winning, bespoke care services for people in their own homes. https://eatonbespoke.co.uk/