Live-in care provides you with an alternative to a residential or nursing home. Your carer lives with you, in your home, providing round-the-clock support. This means that you can stay in your own home, follow your own routines, keep your garden and pets, keep up with your friends and neighbours and live your life just as you want – for a cost equivalent to, or lower than, many residential homes.
Stay in your own home
We all want to be in our own homes, surrounded by the neighbours, garden, pets, furniture and shops that we have always known. We don’t want to be committed to institutional life.
You have one-to-one help
Most care homes work on a ratio of up to four clients to one carer, so cannot give you a dedicated service. Many care homes have upper limits of one-to-one help, while a live-in carer is there for you all the time.
Instead of a nursing home
If someone has recommended a nursing home, in most cases, live-in care is a better alternative. Our live-in carers can do almost all the tasks that nursing home staff do (including helping with PEG feeds, changing dressings, blood sugar prick tests and we are just extending our training to teach carers to use insulin pens).
And if a nurse is needed for something like an injection, our carers are used to working closely with the District Nurses and arranging their visits. About a third of our clients would otherwise be in a nursing home but are having a far better quality of life as a result of live-in care.
Live-in care can work out cheaper than most good care homes
Consider the service you get at home with a live-in carer. How much would you pay to get the same service in a care home? The weekly cost of live-in care is in the region of £900 to £1,300. The savings are greatly increased when a couple both need care. They can share one live-in carer, rather than paying two care home fees. It is also substantially cheaper than having three carers working in eight-hour shifts.
Recent research proves that people who have live-in care are less likely to fall, and far less likely to have a hip fracture than people in residential and nursing homes. But its not just physical health. Our research shows that people with live-in care are happier with ‘softer’ positive outcomes too. They enjoy their home-cooked meals and the sense of freedom and independence that’s maintained.
Maintain your independence
Live-in care lets you lead the life you want to lead. You eat what you want, go out where and when you want, see your friends when you want, get up and go to bed when you want.
Many of our clients use our service when their family member or carer needs a holiday. Similarly, we often provide live-in care when our client needs temporary support through a period of convalescence or recuperation, for example when returning from hospital.
Or, people might try live-in care first, while considering whether to go to a residential or nursing home. The consumer magazine Which? now has an Elderly Care section which illustrates the pros and cons of live-in care.
We know that care is expensive, whether a few hours a day from a reputable local agency or a full-time carer from us. A live-in carer from Christies Care will generally cost between £900 to £1,300 a week, depending on the management model. We make no charge for registration or for visiting you to assess your needs and wishes. After our visit, or after a detailed telephone call with you, we can give you a much closer estimate of costs, which vary depending on the level of care needed. As care needs increase, so will the cost.
You may qualify for some help from the state but many people have too much free capital (over £23,000), or too much income (over £250 per week), or do not have “substantial” care needs. Therefore a lot of people have to pay their care costs without local authority financial help. If you think that you do qualify for local authority help, it is important to contact them as soon as possible.
If one spouse is more dependent than the other, it might pay that the dependent spouse pay for the majority of domestic and care costs – if there is the possibility of becoming eligible for local authority help.
You can reduce the overall cost by doing some of the work: if you can take over for a few hours a day, or longer over the weekends perhaps, you will cut the cost of providing cover for a break for the live-in carer. If you can provide a week of care, or more, from time to time, you will reduce the annual cost of care significantly.
If family can help financially, we think it is important to have a properly documented loan agreement, to be a debt against the estate on death, and to ensure agreement between siblings.
An impaired annuity, paid directly to a care provider, is not subject to tax in the hands of the client, and can pay a generous amount, depending on the health of the client. If a client has an impaired annuity and becomes eligible for NHS continuing health care (free of any means test), it is important to have terms so that the annuity can be paid to the client instead of the care provider (it will then be subject to tax but you will at least get that income).
An equity release arrangement can provide funds to pay care costs, or to buy an impaired annuity.
There is no magic wand to pay for care. We strongly suggest that you take advice from a reputable financial advisor about paying for care, before money gets tight. They should be able to help. We have contacts with many independent financial advisors and can introduce you to one, or more, if you want.
Most of this website describes our service where we are a CQC -registered, domiciliary care agency. We employ the carer and take full responsibility for carrying out care tasks properly and in accordance with current regulations. A week of live-in care costs between £900 and £1,300, depending on our client’s condition.
There is an alternative. If you are confident that the manner in which the carer carries out their tasks will not be subject to supervision, direction or control by anyone, then you may use us as an introducing agency, where we don’t employ the carer but introduce them to you, to work under contract to you and to carry out your wishes.
This arrangement costs less, overall, than one where we employ the carer and ranges from about £650 to £950 a week. It is subject to rules set out in the Finance Act 2014.
If you should decide to use our introductory service, then to preserve the genuine self-employed nature of the carer’s work, the following rules must be followed:
The manner in which the carer carries out their tasks must not be subject to (or to a right of) supervision, direction or control by anyone;
The carer will be self-employed. We will have made sure that they have a NI number and self-employed tax reference or have at least started the process of registration. We will also ensure that they complete a tax return each year and settle their NI and tax obligations. If a carer cannot produce evidence of this we will stop introducing them to clients;
The carer is free to work with their choice of client and for more than one agency. They may accept work for a portfolio of clients, each for a comparatively short time of a few weeks, and they will decide whether or not they wish to work for a particular week or set number of weeks;
The carer will be trained by us to be ‘suitable’ to meet your wishes and needs. By this we mean that they will be competent to carry out agreed wishes and normal social care tasks;
It is important to evidence this relationship and we ask our clients and carers to agree and sign a contract for services, which will set out clearly the carer’s responsibility to do her work without supervision, direction or control.
There are certain aspects where the two services have much in common:
We recruit, vet and train all our carers to the same award-winning induction standards;
We make the same initial visits to our clients, to assess needs and wishes and to examine risks. These visits are free of charge;
We expect to achieve the same standard of continuity and consistency in care and carers;
We offer the same out-of-hours service.
There is a third choice for our client:
In this scenario the carer is subject to supervision, management and control by the client, while working with their client;
It is for the client to employ the carer, deducting tax and NI;
That choice is contained in our contract with our client.
There are many clients who do not wish to use an agency to find their carer or PA.
Some will recruit them from an advert in a magazine or perhaps they are a friend or neighbour.
As people have more needs, and their care gets more complex, so the need for training grows.
Our award-winning training team has trained many private carers in the latest techniques for helping people move safely, with how to administer medication properly and safely, and on dementia care and First Aid.
If you have a private carer who you think should be trained, please call our head of training on 01728 605064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Christies Care is a live-in care agency. We don’t provide care by the hour, or any other service, though we are very willing to supply help and advice. When we learn of a good service, we want to tell people that it exists.
If you want hourly care, whether you are not ready for live-in care, or you need extra help to complement your live-in carer, please ring our office. We have a growing network of professional care agencies with a good reputation and we may well be able to recommend one local to you.
How do we know which ones are good? Because if we hear good things about an agency, we go and visit, and meet them. If we think that they share the right attitude of providing good quality care, we will recommend them. Many already provide help to our clients, so we can see their performance over time. Please ring us, or email us, if you want us to recommend a good hourly agency to you.
If you need financial advice, we are appointed introducers to St. James Place Wealth Management Plc. We believe that they have an unparalleled reputation and can give proper financial advice to all those who want to explore the options for paying for care. Please get in touch with them here.
If you want advice about any aspect of ageing, whether it is travel insurance or advice on benefits, please contact your local Age UK. Many branches offer practical help too. We have visited several of their offices, and found they give an excellent service. As has Jill Sinclair, the daughter of one of our clients: My Demented Dad.
The internet is something that we find extremely useful, and enjoyable, but many of our clients find it too complex. We have seen a product that enables someone to use and enjoy the internet, in a completely simple way. Something that the most technophobic person could use. It is called the Breezie. The Breezie makes it simple to share pictures, chat face to face and send messages to your loved ones without having to worry about the technology behind it all. And if you like, with Breezie you can also access many popular internet services – to read books, listen to music, check weather or play games, puzzles and more. Here is the website: www.breezie.com and a Youtube video.
Many communities are getting together to provide local community support. Just locally to our head office in Suffolk, there are two such projects. One, the Debenham project, www.the-debenham-project.org.uk is (in the words of its chairman, Lynden Jackson) dedicated to giving practical and emotional support to all in the Debenham area who care for those with dementia. Born in 2009, it has developed, in collaboration with many professional agencies (including Christies Care), a comprehensive set of advice, activities, and support services second to none in rural UK. Another, in Wickham Market, is a combination of a family carers support group and a team of volunteer carers, who can provide brief respite cover for family carers. There may well be something similar near you, your doctors surgery, church, local Age UK may well know.