The care conundrum

You may need to choose between live-in or residential care in the future, so consider your options now

As we get older and our needs change it can be challenging to make decisions about what support, if any, we will need in the future. Should you consider regular visits from carers, live-in care or perhaps even moving into a care home? Relatives and friends may give advice, but remember this is a personal choice and there are many things to consider before making it.

Perhaps you, or you and your partner, have already downsized from the family home to a smaller house or apartment. But if you have the space, and a spare room, live-in care may be a good option.

This has become increasingly popular in the UK in recent years, with many agencies offering expert staff who have had thorough background checks. A live-in carer for a couple is likely to cost around £1,700 a week, which can work out as comparable in price, or more economical, than a care home.

There are about 400,000 people living in care homes in the UK, but statistics are harder to find on the precise number of paid live-in carers.

There are certainly advantages to live-in care. You can decide how your care is delivered and by whom to suit your routine, and know that care will be delivered around the clock. Many companies also offer care advisers to guide you through making the arrangements that are best for you.

The Live-In Care Hub is a not-for-profit organisation that was set up in 2013 to help people remain independent ( It says that 97% per cent of people would rather stay in their own home, but many are unsure how to find the right support to do it. And too many have left the decision until the last minute, when they are in crisis and it’s become hugely stressful.

A time may come when it is no longer practical for you or your loved one’s needs to be met in your own home, which is where residential care comes in.

The benefits of a care home, cited by many residents, are the sense of safety, companionship and peace of mind you receive. Websites such as offer advice and guidance on whether this might be the right choice for you.

Care homes have specialised staff on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week - so if you have a fall or need other medical care there is always someone to look after you. There is at least one qualified nurse on site.

Care homes can also be a solution to loneliness if you live alone, offering the opportunity to socialise with others on a daily basis. It is also essential in later life that you have the right diet and nutrients, and a care home will carefully construct menus to provide the healthiest options.

Your living environment will always be clean, warm, tidy and comfortable - you can say goodbye to the days of doing the dishes or wielding the vacuum cleaner.

Many care homes also provide specialist services for those who need higher levels of care. Today’s care homes are also very focused on trying to improve the quality of life for their residents - regularly hosting events and activities, including exercise classes.

Moving into a care home doesn’t mean relinquishing your privacy entirely. You will still have your own personal space to retire to whenever you choose, and you will be encouraged to make it feel more like home. Some care homes even allow well-behaved pets, though you may have to take charge of their food and exercise needs.

Whether you choose a live-in carer or a care home will ultimately depend on your needs. But it is wise to consider the options before you are likely to need them.
For a no obligation chat and advice about recruiting care for your parents, please call our specialist recruitment team on 020 7379 4717