The decision to appoint a live-in carer is not an easy one. The carer will effectively become an extra family member for the client, and will potentially be helping them at some of their most vulnerable and personal times.
Therefore, the first thing to consider is whether the carer and the client can get on. Someone can be the most professional carer in the world, but if they can’t stand the sight of their client then that’s a placement doomed to failure.
The carer should also be able to perform all the regular tasks that the client specifies, including special requirements tailored to individual circumstances. Younger clients may need someone to accompany them to gigs, events or college. Elderly clients are more likely to need help with taking medication, attending medical appointments, shopping and housework. Some clients may have pets, others may have children or younger siblings still at home. Being cared for in their own home means familiarity and routine for many who choose this route, and less disruption to their life as a result. For older clients, a live-in carer often means that couples who have been together for decades can stay together for longer, without one of them having to go into a care home. Familiarity is vital to those with dementia, who often become confused and panicky in strange environments, so a regular live in carer will be beneficial for them.
Some carers work a rota pattern, while other clients prefer the stability of knowing that the same person is there all the time. Carers can take the strain off family members, and provide peace of mind for the client’s relatives. They can either assume sole care for the client or work alongside the family to ensure that their relative’s independence is maintained for as long as possible. For those living alone, a carer can provide company, that valuable ‘someone to talk to’ who can prevent feelings of loneliness and depression forming. A carer can often become a friend to the client, especially if they share similar interests.
It may be that the carer is only required at certain times, for instance overnight, or while other family members are at work. Some clients might need an extra pair of hands when venturing outdoors, or going away on holiday, but be more or less independent in their own home if it has been adapted to their needs. Everyone is an individual, and so their live-in care should be the same.