Live-in Homecare – A REAL Alternative to Residential Care ( A guide for Private Client Advisers)

Private client advisers are often sought out to provide invaluable advice to families concerned with choosing, sourcing and funding later life care. Making clients aware of all the available options is crucial. Here Andy Taylor, Director of Everycare Eastbourne and one of the founder members of The Live-in Homecare Information Hub explains live-in homecare – a little-known alternative to residential care or nursing homes – that is growing in popularity.

When it comes to care for an older parent, clients all want to ensure they are happy, healthy and able to enjoy later life as much as possible. If a parent is no longer able to care for themselves – whether through old age or an illness – it’s a difficult and emotional time and it’s important to choose care that best suits their needs. Giving the right advice will be crucial for your clients.

Live-in homecare – the basics

Live-in homecare is just that: personal carers that live in their client’s home, 24 hours a day. Everyone has different care requirements and live-in homecare allows people to stay in familiar surroundings with the very highest standards of personally tailored, professional care. Carers give essential support such as: washing, dressing, preparing meals, medication, housekeeping and companionship. And many carers and nurses are also specially trained to cope with particular conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, MS or palliative care.

What are the benefits?

With no rigid rules or timetables, each day is planned around the client, giving a sense of independence and dignity. Really getting to know an older person is one of the key advantages of live-in homecare; it’s about caring for the whole person – not just the age or health issue. There’s overwhelming evidence that this kind of constant, considered, one-to-one care produces a far better experience for the vast majority of people.

Carers tend to be people with a special balance of dedication, reliability and compassion combined with sociability, good humour and common sense. Such are the very high standards required of live-in carers, The Live-in Homecare Information Hub member companies normally reject between 92 to 95 per cent of applicants. Each company will have its own individual vetting procedures, but they typically include several interviews, psychometric testing, DBS and work permit checks, written references, ID and qualification verifications.

What about the cost?

For most people, full-time care represents a significant financial outlay but live-in fees can compare very favourably with residential homes, especially where couples are looked after together, where it can work out to be significantly less. It is recommended that solicitors seek out independent financial advisors specialising in later life care to support clients.
Care options

There are two models of live-in home care: full management and introductory. With full management, the company providing the care employs and trains its carers and oversees all aspects of care. An introductory care service is where agencies usually also train the carers but do not employ carers directly. They are self-employed contractors responsible for their own tax and NI contributions, and are paid directly by clients or their families.

Why your role is crucial

Depending on a family’s situation, the client and private client adviser relationship can be crucially important and there are circumstances where live-in care companies work directly with the adviser. In cases where a client has no family or next of kin, or the family lives far away, the solicitor manages the client’s affairs and the care company, or the live-in carer can be the eyes and ears of the solicitor – keeping them abreast of any important or worrying issues and preventing tradespeople and cold callers from taking advantage.
Live-in carers also play a particularly useful role where clients have dementia: because they understand their client and are trained in dementia care, they can help explain any paperwork and administration together with the adviser.

Many private client advisers are still unaware of the option of live-in homecare and assume that residential care or a nursing home is the only choice. It’s important that private client advisers raise awareness of live-in care as an alternative option, since clients, their families and the solicitor can all benefit significantly from the arrangement.

If you would like to find out more about live-in homecare, is a valuable information resource developed by The Live-in Homecare Information Hub – a coalition of leading live-in homecare providers.