07 What’s it like to live with a carer?
The great advantage of live-in care is that it provides a highly flexible service around the changing needs and routines of an individual. Live-in care works best when there is good, regular communication between everyone.
Live-in carers are caring companions that become a valuable part of everyday life. Although your care assistant lives in your home, they are not expected to work 24 hours a day. A typical day will be broken into contact/work time and non-contact/downtime, based around your daily routines and preferences. On average, a live-in care assistant may typically work between 8-10 hours a day. In order to comply with employment law regulations, your carer will require a minimum two-hour break in every working day. If you or your loved one cannot be left unattended for this period of time, a visiting carer can be arranged to work in partnership with your live-in carer.
Live-in carers understand that circumstances and care needs change over time, and while they are available in the home in the event of an emergency at night, they are also unable to perform their role safely and effectively if they are continuously disturbed during the night. Different options are available to maintain everyone’s wellbeing and it is best to discuss these matters openly and for everyone to work to realistic expectations.
Where will my carer live?
As your care assistant may spend their breaks in their room; having furnishings such as a comfortable bed, bedside table, chest of drawers, wardrobe, an armchair, desk and television where possible will help them rest in order to provide the best possible care for you or your loved ones. It’s usually advisable that your live-in care assistant’s room is lockable, or if this isn’t possible, that there is a safe place for them to keep their personal belongings and valuables.
Live-in care assistants are respectful of your privacy in the same way that you are respectful of theirs, and as well as keeping their private space tidy and clean, they are advised to keep your home secure by locking windows and doors as per your instructions and are instructed not to invite their own friends and family to visit them at your home.
As with all aspects of your daily life, your live-in carer will accommodate for your lifestyle and routines, including meals. Live-in carers prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals to your tastes and dietary requirements. The cost of food is to be covered by you, unless speciality foods are required, in which case the carer will incur the extra cost.
In the case of single clients, it is quite usual for a live-in carer to prepare meals for both themselves and your or your loved one to eat together but separate dining arrangements and other details can be discussed to ensure you or your loved one is as comfortable as possible when dining.
Recreational activities and trips out with a carer
Wherever possible, a live-in carer will support you or your loved one on outings to activities, social events and appointments. It’s important to consider your current lifestyle and your wishes for the future when discussing live-in care because some live-in carers may drive and some may not. If you need to travel to any appointments or events, you should discuss your lifestyle with your care provider to ensure you or your loved one is receiving the right support.
If your live-in carer is using your car, you’ll need to ensure the car is roadworthy, taxed and has a valid MOT. You’ll also be responsible for including your carer on your insurance and for any excess payment in the event of an accident.