Live-in care services – AKA in-home care – allow your parent to stay safely in their home with a caregiver present around the clock. There are advantages and disadvantages to live-in care versus other care options, but live-in care offers the most amount of care for the least cost, which is why it is popular with seniors who want to age in their homes.
Being part of the sandwich generation brings up a lot of emotions. Add to that a mom who’s strong-willed and refuses to entertain the idea of leaving her own home. Suddenly, you have an uphill battle with limited options. Well, we received a call from a family in Medford in this exact situation.
Stella has five children who were taking shifts to care for her at her home. That was her wish. They wanted her to be able to stay at home, but professional and personal commitments were hindering their availability. Left with dwindling options, Stella’s children started contacting live-in care agencies.
Because Stella was a strong, independent woman, it was critical that her kids hire a caregiver with the right personality. After multiple interviews, the family reached out to Minute Women. They agreed we were the right caregiver and held their breath that Stella would agree.
As with any caregiver, there’s always an adjustment period. After all, this person is moving into your home and providing for your daily care. Within weeks, it was clear we were a perfect match.
Nearly five years later, Stella looks at her caregiver as one of her own, even including her on family vacations. The caregiver is honored to care for Stella and be a part of her family.
One of those options for services is live-in care. This is when a caregiver transitions to private in-home care and lives with their client. This is beneficial for a number of reasons:
The Cost to Care Ratio
Fewer caregivers needed
More continuity of caregivers
Fewer shift changes
The main reasons families choose private live-in care because there is someone always there in case of emergencies in the middle of the night and it provides the most amount of care for the least amount of money.
While a live-in caregiver is asleep during the night and cannot prevent a fall from occurring if a senior decides to get up and a fall happens a live-in caregiver will hear the calls for help immediately. The alternative being the senior remains on the floor for hours before the morning shift caregiver arrives (or a family member who stops by to check on their parent each morning before heading to work).
A 24-hour caregiver must be awake all night while a live-in caregiver works during the day and sleeps at night. Thus, private in-home care costs less then 24-hour care. Live-in care is charged on a per-day flat rate basis but if a caregiver is needed in the middle of the night, then the caregiver is paid in 15 minutes increments at the normal hourly rate.
While live-in caregivers require about 8 hours of sleep at night in a private bedroom, they are always available to help a senior for a reasonable amount of time if the need arises at night. This means a live-in caregiver will be available to help your loved one use the restroom or get a glass of water, and as mentioned, if there is ever an emergency at night, the caregiver will be able to provide immediate assistance.
Overtime happens during in-home care when caregivers report their clients need assistance in the middle of the night. At that point, the case may need to transition to a 24-hour shift case. The reason being is a caregiver cannot be expected to get unreasonable amounts of sleep during the night and then bear the responsibility of caring for someone for 16 hours.
When this occurs, there are two options that can occur:
The case changes to an hourly case where there are two twelve-hour shifts that are needed each day. The caregivers are expected to be awake throughout their shift and ready to provide assistance to a client at a moment’s notice.
This option is a hybrid of hourly and live-in care services. The live-in care schedule stays the same, with the two caregivers splitting the 7-day week. Additionally, you have a caregiver come in to cover the night shift, usually a ten-hour shift.
The benefit of this solution is that you get to keep the continuity of two main caregivers who are providing the live-in weekly care. Additionally, there are only two nighttime caregivers for the week, so you have a backup and flexibility while keeping the number of caregivers in the home to a minimum.
In this example, there would be a total of four caregivers in the home each week, while 24-hour cases can have up to eight caregivers on a case, which some families find overwhelming.
This option is less costly than directly going to a 24-hour case.
Many seniors feel strongly about staying in their homes. It is best to accommodate these wishes whenever possible.
Hiring a professional to provide care in an independent residence is an ideal way to respect your aging loved one’s wishes while helping to ensure his or her continued health and wellbeing.
Aging persons generally feel more comfortable and confident when they are in their own surroundings. This can enhance both mental and physical health over the long-term.
Although families may have concerns about the cost of live-in care, it can be an affordable option, especially compared to the cost of assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
As with any of our services, we create an individual plan for care based on a senior’s home, personal requirements, and preferences in order to help your loved one maintain lasting independence and happiness.
With live-in care, they can stay in their home and age-in-place, while you have the comfort and peace of mind knowing that someone is there to ensure their safety at a lower cost than what 24-hourly care would cost.
Many families understandably assume that one caregiver will be in the home when it comes to live-in care. For a number of reasons, most agencies will require two caregivers to provide a 7-day live-in care case. This reason includes cost, emergencies, and flexibility.
While agencies will charge you a flat rate for care, they are still paying their employees at an hourly rate and because of this over-time becomes a major factor.
Having one caregiver in the home means that there will be an enormous amount of overtime accrued. This cost is then passed onto the client and is reflected in the price.
Caregivers do need flexibility in their schedules. Life’s day-to-day requirements don’t always line up with a work schedule perfectly. This allows two caregivers to coordinate with the office if there is a one-off appointment that can not be missed.
This provides flexibility so that a client will still have 100% coverage all week even if the schedule needs to be tweaked to make it work.
When an emergency does occur, like a death in the family, a caregiver may need to take a week or two off for grieving and planning a funeral. Sometimes those plans occur in Africa as that is where many of our caregivers are from. This can lead to weeks if not months away from a client.
If you only have one caregiver in a live-in case, you are putting all your eggs in one basket and if an emergency like this occurs, it can be stressful when the only person a client trust is going to leave for three weeks and someone new is introduced the case full-time.
With two caregivers, you will still have some continuity that allows in the home while a new caregiver is introduced. Additionally, the experienced caregiver can help train and provide orientation to the new caregiver to make the schedule change less stressful on the family and on the client.