By Zoë Elkins, Expert residential care provider

Choosing between a care home and live-in care

Around the clock care can help facilitate a better quality of life for parents and loved ones who require extra support due to old age or disability. Traditionally this type of care is provided in care homes, with parents moving out of their homes to be supported by staff in the care facility. 

With up to 97% of elderly people preferring live-in care, choosing to move a parent into a care facility due to a lack of better options can leave many people feeling uneasy – Covid has made this even more of a concern. The good news is that care homes are not the only option.

Live-in care makes it possible for you to secure full time around the clock assistance for a loved one in their own home. Elderly people are provided with a dedicated carer who lives in the home to provide care throughout the day and at night if needed, with great improvements to the health and wellbeing of your loved ones as well as providing peace of mind for you.

Live-in care provides a solution for children faced with the question of “what to do when a parent needs around the clock care”? To help you find out whether your parent’s home is suitable, we’ve listed the few requirements needed for live-in care.

A spare room for live-in care space

A spare room is a vital requirement if you are considering live-in care for a loved one. A live-in carer will move into the home and will typically be expected to sleep overnight.

During their working hours (around 12 hours), a live-in carer will provide assistance for a range of different tasks. This can include assistance with bathing and showering, preparing tasty and nutritious meals, prompting medication and support for more complex conditions like dementia, such as continence care and PEG feeding. The duties of a live-in carer will completely depend on the needs and wishes of the person receiving care.

During the 12 hour period, carers are entitled to a 2-hour break. This break will be coordinated with both yours and your loved one’s schedule. Live-in carers are excellent at being there when needed, whilst also providing a person with space and respect. Ensuring your parent’s home has a spare room available is the best possible way to keep this balance and make the arrangement comfortable and successful.

Family, friends & partners 

Questions about current living situations are frequently asked. Changing a living arrangement in order to receive care, i.e. separating your parents or choosing a high-quality care home that happens to be far away, can be very stressful for your loved one and a heartbreaking choice for children to have to make. Unfortunately, this is the experience of many who choose care homes.

Good care homes can be some distance away from the homes of families and friends. Busy schedules and limited visiting hours can restrict how much time is spent with a loved one in a care home. For couples, it is often the case that only one person in the partnership requires full-time support and will move into the care home to receive it, leaving a partner at home alone.

This type of separation can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation for both individuals – with adverse effects on health. The very purpose of live-in care is to facilitate independence so that your parent can continue living how they wish and with whom they wish.

Live-in care will help your loved one maintain close connections and ties in their communities, alleviating the pressure of care that families sometimes feel and providing peace of mind for you when away from your parent – giving you all more time to do the things you enjoy together. 


If pets are a large part of your parent’s life, the question of what to do with the pet when they require full-time care can be extremely difficult to resolve. Other types of care will require a beloved pet to be re-homed if the extended family does not have the capacity to look after them – a situation that can take its toll on your loved one’s emotional state.

Unlike other full-time care options, complete pet assistance is provided. Live-in carers are trained to ensure your parent’s pets are well looked after, carrying out a range of pet care tasks such as:

  • Taking pets for walks/outings or assisting your parents with this 
  • Purchasing pet food and other items they require 
  • Monitoring the pet’s health and taking them to vet appointments 
  • Providing regular feeding and water 
  • Keeping the home safe and clean for both your parents and their pets
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Will they be comfortable? 

The comfort of the person receiving care is the number one priority, therefore it’s important to ensure your parents have a clear understanding of what live-in care involves and are happy with the arrangement and any changes that it may bring.

Some elderly people who have lived alone for a great number of years find the idea of now sharing their home a little daunting. Live-in care can create a relaxing and worry-free environment which soon melts away any apprehension parents may initially display.

A live-in carer’s job includes companionship aspects as well as health and clinical care. The 1-to-1 nature of live-in care often creates long-lasting friendships and bonds between a carer and the person receiving care.

There will not be a constant stream of different carers in your parent’s home, only professionals who they have grown to trust. Live-in care providers go to great lengths to match carers to your parents, taking time to understand the personalities of both individuals.

Lifestyles are also taken into consideration, for instance, your mum or dad may have lived as a vegetarian for a number of years and live-in care companies will match them with carers with similar dietary choices. Cares will also typically have shared interests with your family member. This could be for anything from a love of gardening, baking, or simply watching films. 

Live-in care companies pay close attention to the small details which ensure your parent or loved one feels completely comfortable, safe and happy at home and with the around the clock care they are receiving.

You may also like: Top Tips For How To Choose A Nursing Home Or Care Home  and Caring For Elderly Parents – Best To Plan 

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Zoë Elkins

Zoë Elkins has worked in the care sector for the last eight years; both in primary and residential care settings. She has been working for one of the UK’s top residential care providers, managing services for people with dementia and setting the strategic direction of the company. Zoë’s background is in psychology, specialising in dementia care. Find out more about live-in care by The Good Care Group by visiting The Good Care Group website or contact us on 020 3728 7577.

Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by Editorial Staff

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