The costs of 24-hour live in care at home
What does it cost to have around the clock care in your own home? Many people don’t realise that 24/7 care, also known as ‘live-in care’, can be an economic alternative to residential care.
24 care at home – what is live-in care?
With live-in care, a carer comes to live with you, in your own home, and is available to help day and night. Whether they support with complex conditions like Dementia, Parkinson’s or Epilepsy, or whether they take on responsibility for daily household chores, live-in carers can make a substantial difference to people’s lives.
For many people, companionship is an important reason to opt for live-in care: it can be reassuring to know that there is someone there, for yourself or your loved one, who can keep an eye out and make sure everything runs smoothly.
We find that live-in care is becoming more and more popular in Herefordshire, and for good reason. While the costs of live-in care can be in a similar range as the costs of a care or nursing home, most people prefer live-in care – by some way – because it enables them to stay in their own home.
The cost of live-in care vs. residential care
Live-in care can be an economic alternative to residential care. Prominently, because your live-in carer lives with you, you don’t have to pay towards ‘hotel costs’ that come with residential care, like your room, meals, and upkeep of the care home. Similarly, you don’t have to pay towards a multitude of medical and administrative staff, housekeeping and security personnel, or cooks.
What live-in care ends up costing depends on your personal circumstances, like whether you live alone or as a couple and whether you (continuously or occasionally) require an additional carer, for instance to assist with complex mobility issues.
Live-in care can be a particularly attractive option for couples who both require assistance. In many cases, one live-in carer can support both partners, and we can include the second individual for a substantially reduced rate.
To give an indication of the prices of live-in care vis-à-vis residential care: according to Homecare UK, the average weekly costs of a care home is about £700 - £888 while the costs for specialised nursing within a home for an individual with Dementia can be around £1,000 to £1,500. These prices are only an average and would depend on location.
The benefits of 24 hour care at home versus residential care
Without exception, our live-in care clients tell us that the benefits of being able to stay at home are enormous. The fact that they can live in their familiar environment, with their own possessions, in the neighbourhood that they know, and that they can maintain their own daily routines or invite friends and family over whenever they please, gives great peace of mind.
One of the most obvious advantages is that you can build a close partnership with your live-in carer, who is there just for you, day and night. Your live-in carer gets to know you well and they quickly learn how you take your coffee, when you like to get up and what you have for breakfast. They cook your favourite meals, they know your familiar brand of cereals, and they can accompany you on your daily walk or to your favourite tea room.
In some cases, live-in care enables couples where only one of the partners requires care to stay together. For couples who have lived together for decades, the thought of having to be separated when one of the partners moves into a care home can be daunting and depressing. Often, live-in care can enable couples to stay together in their own home for much longer.
Similarly, whereas most residential settings cannot accommodate animals, live-in care enables people to keep their pets. We have seen heart-warming stories of people who cannot bear the thought of having to separate from their beloved dogs and for whom live-in care makes it possible to enjoy life with their animal friends. For those people, live-in care truly is a way to avoid loneliness.
Financial support for 24 hour live-in care at home
There are several possibilities to obtain funding towards the costs of live-in care, and our live-in care team can guide you towards the available resources.
1. Attendance Allowance
Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people over State Pension age, who need help with personal care or supervision because of illness or disability. It is a weekly contribution that can be spent on all type of costs – which can but do not have to include live-in care. Attendance Allowance is not means-tested, so it doesn’t matter how many incomes or savings you have.
Visit the Gov.uk website for more information on Attendance Allowance
2. Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people under State Pension age, who may need help with daily activities or getting around because of a long-term illness or disability. PIP has replaced the Disability Living Allowance. Like the Attendance Allowance, PIP is not means-tested.
Visit the Gov.uk website for more information on Personal Independence Payment
3. NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Funding
NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is a source of funding for people who have a ‘primary health need’, like a condition or an illness that requires a certain level of care. Eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare is assessed by your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). When you are eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, this means that the NHS will pay for your healthcare and associated social care needs.
The funding is not dependent on a particular diagnosis, or on who provides the care.
For more information visit your local CCG website.
4. Local Authority Funding (direct payments)
If you require support with carrying out day-to-day tasks in your own home due to ill-health, frailty, or after being discharged from hospital, your Local Authority may contribute fully or partially towards the costs of paying for care at home. Local Authority funding is means tested.
If you are eligible for local authority funding, you can request to receive direct payments from the council, which you can use to arrange and pay for home care services yourself.
Useful information on Local Authority Funding:
Money Advice Service on local authority funding for care costs
Gov.uk on direct payments
NHS on how to find your Local Authority Needs Assessment Service.
There are several charities who provide financial support for home care. For example, some of our clients have been able to obtain financial support from SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity that supports older veterans.
Turn2us is a national charity that helps people with financial support. They are a good starting point to find charities that offer financial support to fund home care.
Insurance is often overlooked as a potential source of funding for home care services. There are certain insurance policies that may cover home care costs, such as life insurance with critical illness cover, a joint policy that covers illness, a terminal illness cover connected to a mortgage policy, or some over-50s plans.
The Money Advice Service provides information about how to claim on insurance to cover the costs of care.