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2 Advantages and disadvantages of having a live-in careworker

Advantages of having a live-in carer

  • Dedicated care: the main advantage of engaging a live-in careworker, which you employ, or receiving a managed service, where the agency employs the careworker, is the dedicated one-to-one care by a team of typically two carerworkers.
  • Your relative stays in their own home, surrounded by their possessions, in a completely familiar setting. While residential care can offer a valuable service, most people prefer to stay in their own home if they can. A poll conducted by One Poll for live-in care provider Consultus Care in 2014 found that 97% of respondents would not want to move into a care home.
  • Peace of mind: they, and you, live safe in the knowledge that someone is available to help if there is a problem. Indeed, live-in care  also offers companionship, reducing the risk of your relative feeling isolated and lonely. A careworker will also support your relative in their interests and hobbies, encouraging them to continue with them wherever possible. This can have positive effects on people’s confidence, happiness and well-being. If the careworker is happy to drive your relative or accompany them on journeys, that makes keeping in contact with friends and the local community much easier.
  • Keeping pets: the careworker can (provided they agree) help to look after a pet that might otherwise be put up for adoption or sent to a new home if its owner moved into residential care. Many care homes and sheltered accommodation do not allow pets, for understandable reasons.
  • Less pressure on relationships: relatives are able to continue their relationship with someone as part of the family, rather than being drawn into being their full-time careworker, which can be stressful, time-consuming and frustrating. This practical and emotional benefit takes the pressure off the family feeling that they have to cope with their relative’s needs all the time.
  • Holidays and way of life: if your relative is still able to travel for holidays, this may only be possible if they are able to take a full-time careworker with them. This allows them to continue their way of life with as little restriction as possible.
  • Specialist training: many live-in careworkers are specially trained to deal with such conditions as dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, MS or palliative care.  Some providers also offer live-in nursing staff.
  • Staying together: for couples, the cost of live-in care can be significantly less than a residential setting and loving partners are able to stay together. In some cases where one has dementia, they are separated in residential settings.

Disadvantages of having a live-in carer

  • Finding the right person: the key is to find the right careworker/care team who is properly trained and sympathetic to your relative's needs. This can be a challenge. If your relative has complex or demanding medical needs, it may be difficult to find suitable careworkers with the correct experience and training, although most live-in care companies provide very good training, including qualifications.
  • Lack of residential home benefits: some people also enjoy the social benefits of being in a residential home where they are constantly in contact with others, and may welcome giving up some of their privacy, so they can be freed from the sense of responsibility for managing their own home, even when they have help.
  • Cost: it isn't cheap to have live-in carers on call 24 hours a day, although with the introductions of personal budgets and direct payments it can be possible for live-in care to be state-funded, depending on eligibility. Also, live-in care fees can be lower than the price of a residential home. The arrangement can be particularly cost-effective for couples, because they pay once for a live-in carer, and twice over for places in a care home.
  • Living arrangements: live-in careworkers will require a private room in the house for their own use. From the point of view of your relative, not everyone is comfortable with having a stranger living in their home and there could be tensions about living arrangements, depending on how they work in practice. 
  • Needs of the careworker: careworkers will need breaks, including holidays, and to spend time with their own families. So the personnel will change occasionally, and some will be better than others. If your relative engages live-in carerworkers via a managed service, this will be less of a problem as the provider can organise short-term cover when necessary.