Live in care is often a more affordable option for those who need a considerable amount of assistance or an added peace of mind for loved ones, knowing that someone is always there to help. As long as you have appropriate living space for a caregiver to be able to live comfortably in your home, this could be a desirable option for you. The care is negotiated at a bulk daily rate versus hourly so that you do not pay for the Care Professional’s off time. Built-in is a trade off of comfortable living accommodations for the Care Professional and other benefits are often negotiated as well.
A live in Care Professional can seamlessly become a part of your household. Because you are going to be giving up some of your valued privacy and routine in order to accommodate someone moving into your home, you need to get comfortable with that idea. There are a number of ways you can prepare for making this transition as smooth as possible.
- Set up-front Expectations. Make sure he or she knows not only what care services you expect of him or her, but also what household duties and what your “ground rules” are. This ensures that you set them up to succeed in not breaking them or crossing the line too much into your personal space. Even simple information such as types of music and TV you prefer, including volume levels, how to handle personal phone calls, internet usage, lights-out times, etc.will make the Care Professional much more comfortable in your home.
- Orient them. Prepare to welcome the care Professional into your home by giving him or her important household information about your home, neighborhood, and routine. Make sure they also know where things are located in the home that they might need.
- Make a comfortable space for them. The Care Professional will need a private place for both sleep and to rest or recharge between assigned duties. Relocate anything which you or your loved one might need from that space so you won’t need to intrude on his or her privacy when off duty. Provide them an ample supply of bed linen and towels and make sure they are comfortable with temperature settings in their space.
- Communicate. In the first few days or weeks the Care Professional is living with you, be sure to communicate any concerns you may have or anything you would like them to adjust their approach. It is much better to approach these things up front then to continue to let them occur and not voice your discontent. Most likely the Care Professional will be happy to oblige and if for some reason they do not you should contact their agency supervisor to then get involved.
Some other tips that can help make utilizing live in care easier are:
- Care Providers need to get adequate sleep. A baby monitor can allow the caregiver to rest in their own room and still hear when your loved one needs help.
- You or your loved one may want to keep your food entirely separate from the Care Professional’s. Labeling everything could become a daunting task but consider labeling a specific shelf in the fridge and/or pantry for the Care Professional to place his or her items.
- A designated notebook for your Care Professional to keep notes on your loved one’s condition, activity, medications, etc. can help keep everyone informed and organized. It would be ideal to also place items such as DNR, advanced directives, and emergency numbers in this book.
There are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether or not live in care is right for you, including diagnosis, the physical home set up, sleep patterns, level of care, and even cultural factors. Talking with a licensed home care agency can be a good place to start, and most will provide a free consultation to help you get started. Finding a good match up front and some advanced preparation and planning will make the experience that much more comfortable for everyone involved.
About the Author: Pam Reynolds, CMC is the President and co-owner of Allegiance Aging Care Services. Pam has spent almost fifteen years working in senior care including long term care facilities and home health care. Her higher education is in Social Work, and she has been credentialed as both a certified Geriatric Care Manager and Licensed Assisted Living Administrator. Read more about Pam and her team of Aging Care Professionals here.