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What to expect from live-in care for your parent

For most of our parents the thought of leaving their own home for a life in care can be nightmarish. Moving into a care home is often seen as one of life’s grim realities and this association can mean our parents avoid thinking about care possibilities until it’s too late.

What is live-in care?

If one or both of your parents need full-time care they can have a carer to come live with them so that all their care needs and other wants - in terms of meals and cleaning - are catered for. Their carer is there all day, every day to make sure that your parent is happy and safe. The actual care given and level of care is as individual as your parent.

How will my parent’s needs be met?

First and foremost are your parent’s needs. Your chosen care agency will get to know your parent and work to fulfill all their wants and needs. They’ll assess what kind of care your parent requires as well as the kind of help they want with daily tasks and activities.

The agency will learn your parent’s likes and dislikes, note the medications they’re taking and understand the kind of person your parent is and the type of company they enjoy. They’ll take the time to find out about your parent’s preferred schedule, the hobbies they enjoy, the pets they keep and the family members that visit on a regular basis.

All this information is usually derived from several conversations via phone or in person with you and your parent to make sure that any possible risk factors are minimised and that both parties are happy all care and domestic tasks have been recorded.

How are carers selected?

Most care agencies operate in much the same way when it comes to selecting carers. First and foremost, carers are recruited and trained. Training can differ from agency to agency, but a good agency will provide an in-depth course that complies with CQC requirements. This is where your own research will come into its own. At St Jude's training consists of a  residential training course as well as police checks and lengthy interviews with managerial staff.

Once this process has been completed a suitable carer for your parent can be selected by your family’s care advisor who will check their compatibility as well as their qualifications for dealing with your parent’s care needs.

Who will manage my parent’s carer?

In most cases you and your parent will manage their carer. Personalised care means that your parent can make all the decisions in terms of when they get up, what they would like to eat and drink (within reason!) and when they want to pop to the shops etc.

If your parent can’t make these decisions the carer will rely on you or the care agency to provide care instructions so that your parent can be cared for properly and in the way they want to be. Most agencies will give you and your parent the option of deciding who will manage their live-in care.

When will my parent meet their carer?

This is when your chosen care agency becomes somewhat of a “dating” agency. Your care advisor will have already assessed your parent’s personality as well as their needs which means matching them with a carer they get on with should be a straightforward process.

Your parent will be introduced to their first carer. They may hit it off straight away or your parent may dislike them – sometimes you never can tell. Your care agency should do everything in their power to make a successful match.

What if they don’t get on?

If you parent doesn’t get on with the first carer they’re introduced to the care agency will remove them and ensure your parent never has to see that carer again. Most agencies encourage constant communication between you and your parent, their carer and the agency themselves to ensure everything is going smoothly. If you suspect things are going wrong it’s always best to notify the agency right away so that any issues can be dealt with quickly, before anything becomes serious.

What if something goes wrong?

Simply put, things shouldn’t go wrong. The checks that are carried out by all good agencies should stop things going wrong. But sometimes they do. All good agencies will have a clear safeguarding procedure, to deal swiftly with any allegation of abuse or wrongdoing, which you should be able to see at any point.

What happens if the carer moves on?

We know that no one carer can stay with your parent forever. Your parent’s carer will have other clients and will need a holiday from time to time! Most agencies will build up a team of carers for your parent so that they have 3 or 4 people they know and like, who come and care for them weeks at a time.


Preparing for the future

Live-in care is just one of many options that allow for your parent to stay in their own home for longer or indeed for the rest of their life. The need for care often comes suddenly and without sufficient care plans in place your parent may end up in a place they’d rather not be. Discussing the choices and doing the research into care together can take the fear out of the process and determine what your parent does and doesn’t want for their future.