Live-in Home Care vs a Care Home?

The benefits of live-in home care vs a care home include staying in a familiar environment, personalised private care, privacy and control.

home care or care home

Live-in home care vs care home

When someone you love and care for is no longer able to live safely alone, it can be difficult to know which way to turn.

The care options can be confusing when you’re balancing your head, your heart and your wallet. But try not to panic, there are ways to access the right support and maintain your loved one’s safety, wellbeing and dignity.

When an individual is struggling, it may seem like residential care is the only option. But live-in care in their own home can be a valid alternative. The right choice for your family is all about balancing the pros and cons of both, together with your loved one’s own preference. We spoke to families and to people working in the industry and found out the advantages and the disadvantages of live-in care vs care home:

Live-in care

Carers can be hired to come into your loved one's own home and support them day and night.

The good bits:

  1. Familiar environment: Your loved one can stay in the home that they love with all their favourite objects, furniture and memories. A cherished book, a favoured tea cup and the armchair where they do the crossword every morning will all remain close at hand.
  2. A space of their own: In their own home, there’s always somewhere to get away and have some peace, quiet and privacy.
  3. Keeping it regular: As we get older we can get a little stuck in our ways. It can be confusing and distressing having to adapt to new routines. This is particularly true in individuals with dementia. There’s good evidence that sticking to a familiar environment and schedule really can help maintain function and independence.
  4. Close to family and friends: Staying in their local area means they can keep contact with friends, neighbours and family.
  5. One-to-one care: With live-in care givers you have a devoted carer, whose job it is to support and help your loved one, so you don’t have to worry that they are being neglected because of other demands on their time.
  6. Furry friends: If they have much-loved pets, they can stay with them, which can help boost wellbeing and reduce stress.

The bad bits:

  1. Show me the money: Live-in care can work out a little pricier than residential care. However, by using an agency like HomeTouch, that introduces self-employed caregivers, the costs are lower to the customer. Live-in care can also be a great idea if you have two loved ones needing support, it can work almost like a buy-one-get-one-free scenario. It means they can continue to live together, in their home, as a couple, for the rest of their days.
  2. Keeping house: Your carers will attend to everything your loved one needs but it’s still important to consider bills, gardening and house maintenance, which can be a big responsibility.
  3. Personality clash: Sometimes your loved one won’t like or gel with their carer. It’s better to prevent this by interviewing carers on the telephone and in person and running a test shift to check their rapport.
  4. Employer responsibilities: If you hire a carer privately through an advert or personal recommendation, you automatically become their employer. This role brings with it a number of legal and financial responsibilities. Consider using an agency that will shoulder some of this burden.

Residential care

Sometimes illness, dementia or mobility problems can make home seem like a dangerous place for your loved one. A residential facility may be the best choice for maintaining their safety and wellbeing.

The good bits:

  1. Social stimulation and companionship: In a care home, they are rarely alone. There’s always someone nearby to chat with, which can help prevent loneliness and social isolation.
  2. Activities: There are often talks, entertainment and exercise classes to keep your loved one occupied, active and interested.
  3. Peace of mind: With many carers and support staff available there will be people to attend to your loved one’s needs around the clock.
  4. No responsibility for house bills and maintenance: With your loved one living away from home you may discuss selling or renting the family home out. However, if it remains empty, then keeping up with bills and repairs will be a demanding task.

The bad bits:

  1. Lack of privacy: The noise and bustle of a care home can seem overwhelming to a new arrival; it may seem that there is nowhere to which they can escape.
  2. Staff turnover: There may be lots of staff caring for your loved one at different times which can make it difficult to build a relationship and understanding with the carers.
  3. Distress and disorientation: Moving into a new environment can be confusing, especially for people affected by Alzheimer’s. Many individuals find it difficult to adapt and their function and independence may be significantly impaired.
  4. Marching to someone else’s rhythm: It can be tricky when you’ve spent a lifetime making your own choices about when to wake, eat and sleep, to change your habits to fit with a care home’s set timetable.
Only you, your family and your loved one can make the decision that is best for everyone. But whatever you choose, remember to let go of guilt. You are not abandoning the individual; you are ensuring that they are safe and well cared for. This can leave you free to enjoy your time together, whether it’s in a care home or at home.
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