caregiver with client in wheelchair

There may come a time when you or your loved one needs full-time, day and night care due to aging or illness. Before you or your loved one considers moving to a relative’s home or a nursing home, you may consider taking advantage of live-in caregiver services to provide for your needs. With a caregiver there throughout the day and night, you can have the peace of mind that you or your loved one will be safe and will get the assistance needed.

You could find and hire a caregiver on your own, but that can be a complicated, overwhelming task. Dealing with training, scheduling, substitutes, vacation hours, paychecks and taxes can be a lot to handle. A home care provider can take care of all of that for you—and provide you with the trained and trustworthy caregivers you need.

Usually when people think of hiring live-in caregivers, they expect to hire only one caregiver who lives full-time, seven days a week in their home, a constant roommate who is ready to assist them through all hours of the day and night. But in reality, that isn’t how it works. That long of a work week would be hard and unfair for one caregiver to manage. Most home care providers will balance the work hours by dividing the time up between several caregivers. Each caregiver will work a shift in your home for three to four days, and when the shift ends, the caregiver will have the rest of the week off and another caregiver will arrive at your home to take the next shift. Some caregivers actually prefer this type of work schedule because it gives them large chunks of uninterrupted time at home with their family each week.

When you have these live-in caregivers working a shift in your home, each caregiver still needs to have a little bit of time off in the evening and still needs to get eight hours of sleep each night. They are available to assist, if needed, a couple times each night, but they shouldn’t be expected to remain awake and keep watch all night long. Sometimes seniors expect a caregiver to remain awake and working at all times while serving as a live-in caregiver.

Aaron Marcum, owner of Home Care Pulse and former owner of a successful home care business, explains, “If a senior needs someone to remain awake and watchful during the night, a home care provider can usually offer 24/7 hourly care, also known as ‘around the clock’ care. This type of service requires the caregivers to stay awake through the night, each rotating after 8-12 hour shifts. A senior might have four or more caregivers coming in during the week to cover these shifts.” These caregivers are not live-in caregivers: they work shorter shifts and are paid by the hour while they are at someone’s home.

Home care providers pay live-in caregivers by the shift, not by the hour, so a caregiver is paid for a three to four day shift as a complete work week. This way, when the caregiver is asleep at night, those hours are not considered “working” hours, and the caregiver is not “on the clock.” Home care providers will in turn bill seniors for the shift the live-in caregiver worked, not for the total hours worked. In the long run, this can be less expensive than having to pay for these services by the hour.

Live-in caregivers preferably need to have access to a bed and a private bathroom. Some home care providers require this for live-in caregivers. Usually, seniors provide meals for the live-in caregivers, though caregivers often assist with tasks like shopping for or preparing meals.  Check with your home care provider to know what you need to provide and prepare for in order to accommodate live-in caregivers in your home.

The services of a live-in caregiver can make it possible for you or your loved one to live at home for longer, remaining as independent as possible for as long as possible.  Turn to a trusted home care provider in your area for help finding a kind and trustworthy live-in caregiver. To find a Home Care Pulse Certified and Best of Home Care® award-winning provider in your area, enter your zip code in the “Find a Certified Provider” bar at the top of this page!