Dignity and independence; guide to arranging a live-in carer

As the years march by and your health and mobility become a substantial challenge, one of the hardest things you face is saying three simple words: “I need help.”

Many people hesitate to seek practical support for themselves or a loved one because they mistakenly believe that the inevitable next step is moving to a care home. This can be a daunting prospect for the whole family, not just for an individual struggling to cope with their daily life.

This is why it’s important to read this guide to live-in care.

It will outline all the benefits of finding home help around the clock, and what sort of things this elderly care option covers.

As you will see, the main advantage is that you – or your loved one – can live at home, cared for and supported while enjoying independence, safely.

What is live in care

The starting point is being clear on what’s meant by a live-in carer, and how live-in care differs from other home-based support for the elderly.

One of the options for vulnerable adults at any stage of their life is to get regular visits from a professional carer who carries out agreed tasks. This can still leave large parts of the day when the individual must cope alone.

A live-in carer is someone who resides in a spare room at your home, providing 24-hour support, and a highly diverse range of services. Though you can have private time, your live-in carer is close by, keeping you safe and comfortable at all times of the day and night.

In many situations, arranging live-in care is the only way to avoid having to move to a residential placement.

Why do people want to stay living in their own home

Everyone has a right to be fiercely independent. Privacy is important to us all, and so is feeling you have control over your own decisions and daily activities.

No matter how frail you are, and even when illnesses such as dementia starts to affect your cognitive abilities, your own home will continue to be a source of pride, your ‘safe haven’, and where you feel most comfortable and in control.

A residential care home environment takes much of that away. No matter how good the facility is.

Also, the chances are that you have worked for years to create a much-loved home and gather all your favourite things around you. The very thought of moving away from that to a strange place can be distressing!

Plus, don’t forget that care homes don’t allow pets! So, arranging the best live-in care will mean still having your beloved animal with you every day.

A better option than splitting partners

There are times when someone becomes ill or vulnerable and needs a level of care that their partner is unable to provide. Clearly, having a situation in which caring for your wife or husband is straining your own physical, mental, and emotional health is extremely tough.

One of the ways this is sometimes dealt with is respite placements, or even a permanently split living situation – both of which can be heart-breaking, and easily avoided by employing the skills and support of a live-in carer.

The health advantages of home help

Setting aside the emotional reasons for preferring to stay at home in your autumn and winter years, there are important health benefits.

One French study into this topic said, succinctly: “A person’s location of care can influence health and well-being.”

Being around other vulnerable people in a residential setting could cause distress, which accelerates ill health. It certainly puts you at risk from infections that pass quickly around care facilities. We saw that tragically and vividly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you think about it, there are even more logical reasons people remain healthier and happier with proper home help support too.

One is that you don’t have all the stress and upheaval of moving to a new environment. That’s enough to unsettle and strain anyone! Instead, you continue to gain comfort from your own personal belongings, familiar rooms, and local community (such as your neighbours, Church, park, and local shops).

Next, a live-in carer provides something else a residential placement could not replicate: Individual attention.

With live-in care, you’re the sole focus of that trained professional and their only priority, making it extremely unlikely that your health issues or daily needs will be overlooked, forgotten, or ignored!

This really is the best recipe for protecting your health and wellbeing.

The best 24-hour elderly care, in their home

There is an important rider to all this, of course.

The whole point of making serious decisions about professional support for the elderly is that they have substantial challenges every day, including issues with their health and safety, ability to carry out daily tasks, and potential to be comfortable and content.

The emphasis needs to be on finding person-centred home care that meets the exact needs of that individual. This includes a live-in carer who continues to protect their independence and dignity while keeping them safe and well supported.

The list of tasks that can be completed by the right live-in home help is long. It can include medication reminders and fundamental health support, help with bathing and dressing, domestic chores, meal preparation, and social interaction.

It is also possible to engage someone with nursing experience and qualifications as a live-in carer if you have complex medical needs.

More benefits of a live in carer

Keep in mind that in many situations, having a live-in carer costs less than a residential care placement. The cost savings come from the fact you continue to live on your own property. The only thing you’re paying for (often with support from Benefits) is your professional 24/7 support.

Also, your live-in care could actually increase your quality of life, as well as your ability to play an active role in daily living.

As we get older, we start to gradually make compromises and sacrifices, doing less of what we love due to the limitations of health, energy levels, and mobility. Some people are constantly and sadly aware of things left undone too, such as the adventures and activities they didn’t get round to doing before old age robbed them of their chance.

This is when a live-in carer can make a difference. If you’re no longer able to travel, your carer can at least find home-based activities and tasks to enrich your daily life. They may even be able to support more outings, by giving professional, well-trained assistance to match your potential abilities.

Also, live-in care provides social interaction that can tackle the sense of isolation that comes with senior years. Of course, a person-centred carer would still provide you with your own space when you prefer, but you never need to feel lonely when they are so close by.

Peace of mind for relatives and friends

There is another great reason to opt for what Americans call “ageing in place”. Live-in care can be a huge relief for family and friends.

It avoids the guilt and distress of feeling that you forced your loved one into an alien and unwelcome living arrangement.

Also, we have all seen those headlines about bad standards of care in some residential settings, and how the old and vulnerable can become invisible to busy staff.

Instead, you will know that the person you love is in expert hands, in their own familiar, safe place, with physical, mental, and emotional support that exactly matches their preferences and abilities.

Visits – which won’t be restricted by ‘visiting hours’ – will be pleasurable and stress-free. The live-in carer is carrying out any necessary tasks, making it possible for the individual and their visitors to relax, catch up, and make wonderful memories.

Best of all, family and friends will know that their special person is entirely safe, but also living independently and with dignity in their own home.