Care homes have rarely been out of the spotlight in recent months, as they are the institutions which have been among the hardest hit in the Covid-19 pandemic. Concerns over safety and care of relatives in care homes puts the family in an impossible position; they are unable to provide care for home at their elderly relative, but they don’t feel that they would be safe in a care home either. However, there could be a third option, of paying a full time carer, or carers, to live-in. But how practical – and expensive – is this choice?
How It Works
Unlike having carers who visit regularly through the day to help with someone’s daily routine, the idea of a live-in carer is to have someone there all of the time, like a family member. It allows the older person to stay in their own surroundings and can be flexible in that the carer can do as little or as much as required. Most live-in carers are not trained nurses, but there to help with everyday tasks such as preparing meals, running errands, driving their clients to appointments, or just being there as emotional support and a friendly face.
On average, it costs around £1000 per week to have someone living with you as a full-time carer. Some funding may be available to help with the costs from local authorities, depending on your income. It sounds expensive compared with care home fees of typically £600 to £800 per week, but it’s an option which is popular with older couples, for whom twice the care home fees would be considerably more than having someone coming to live with them. Carers are generally not employed directly by the client, but by an agency who handles the payroll and responsibility of being an employer. This also means that cover can be easily arranged when a carer wants to go on holiday or falls ill themselves.
Who Works as Carers?
Most live-in carers work through an agency, who take over all of the responsibility of recruiting staff, interviewing them and checking out their credentials. A high level of checking is required when hiring someone to work with vulnerable people in their own homes, so all agencies will perform thorough background checks including verifying qualifications and speaking to previous employers. Perhaps the most important check is the enhanced DBS check. This is the most detailed level of criminal records checking, and will reveal any cautions, convictions, or police intelligence on record about the person applying to work in a caring role.
Agencies which specialise in arranging care at home usually work hard to match the right carer to the client. This is often a case of getting the right personality fit, and might involve carers having an extended interview, or a trial period for both the carer and their clients to decide whether the relationship will work on a longer term. Given that the carer will be moving in, this step shouldn’t be taken lightly.