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July 9, 2021 10 min

We all try our hardest to provide the best quality of care for our aging loved ones, but there may come a time when we alone are no longer enough, especially when we have full-time jobs and commitments outside of the home, which the majority of people today do. When seniors need continuous care, there a few different types of care to consider. Putting our loved ones in a nursing home is an option, but finding the right fit is difficult, and a lot of the time, nursing homes are not an option we want to take, for one reason or another.


According to a 2017 fact sheet by AARP, 52 percent of adults turning 65 will need some kind of long-term care during the remainder of their lives and that number goes up each year. Choosing a type of long-term care is something more and more families are being faced with. Something most families and seniors are comfortable with and prefer is continuous in-home care. This allows the senior to remain in their home, in an environment they are familiar with.


There are two types of continuous in-home care services that can be provided. The first is live-in care, where a caregiver lives in the home for days at a time. The second is 24-hour care. With 24-hour care, a few caregivers operate on a rotational shift schedule instead of one caregiver providing all the care.


Today on All Home Care Matters, we will be discussing the pros and cons of live-in care versus 24-hour care. It is important that you know all the details before choosing a type of care for your loved one and we hope that today’s episode will be able to help families currently researching the types of continuous care find the right fit for them.


Before we get into the two types of care, we are going to explore some of the things that may determine if your loved one needs continuous care. In an article written for Home Care Assistance, author Amber Lambert offers some reasons you may be in need of 24-hour or live-in care. If your loved one has dementia or difficulty doing day-to-day tasks due to memory issues, a full-time caregiver can watch over them for their own safety and help when needed. Seniors with dementia may need help managing sundowner’s syndrome.


If you’re interested in learning more about sundowner’s syndrome and what it means for your loved one, we recently covered this topic on a recent episode. Listen to the What is Sundowner’s Syndrome? episode and visit our website for more information.


Your loved one may get to a point where they cannot safely bathe themselves or perform other daily tasks on their own, such as cooking or taking care of their pets or even get to their appointments or pick-up their prescriptions. A caregiver can assist the senior while they complete these tasks or do them for the senior if necessary. A caregiver also provides companionship, which is just as important as any of the other assistance they provide. A friendly face to talk to can improve a senior’s mood and overall quality of life.


Now, on to the pros and cons of live-in care. Live-in caregivers live in the house during their shifts.


They have to have their own space with their own bed, which can be difficult for seniors and their families to provide if they don’t have a lot of extra room. Caregivers also get a four-hour break during the day and an eight-hour sleeping break. During their four-hour break, another caregiver or a family member may be needed to provide care while they’re away. If the caregiver is needed during their sleeping break, they are usually paid more money on top of their base pay. Live-in care is not available in every state. If it is not an option in your area, 24-hour care is available in every state.


With live-in care, there is more consistency for the senior. Typically, one caregiver is in the home Monday through Thursday and a second caregiver is in the home Thursday through Sunday. With 24-hour care, the caregivers switch off shifts every twelve hours and have to brief each other on any necessary information for the upcoming shift. This potentially allows room between shifts for something to be forgotten or left out. With live-in care, one caregiver provides care for three or four days at a time, leaving less room for error between shift changes.


Having fewer caregivers in and out of the home also helps the senior better build a relationship with the caregiver. A caregiver providing live-in care sees the senior more than 24-hour caregivers do, as they can be in the home up to 5 days in a row. This schedule allows them to not only provide companionship to the senior they are caring for but also friendship. Having the same person looking after the senior is something a lot of families like about live-in care. They build trust over time and worry about their loved one less when they are unable to provide care for them themselves.


We know what live-in caregivers provide and how often they work, but how much will a live-in caregiver cost for the family or senior? Live-in caregivers are paid at a flat-rate, and not hourly. There may be additional costs, like if they have to provide care during their eight-hour break or if the family needs additional coverage during their four-hour break, but overall, there is one cost per day that is usually an average of 250 dollars a day depending on your state and local area. Unfortunately, Medicare will not cover any of the costs of live-in care, but long-term care insurance, Medicaid, and veteran’s aid may help cover some of the costs.


Now let’s move on to the pros and cons of 24-hour care. Two or three separate caregivers provide care through separate eight- or twelve-hour shifts, depending on the agency you go through and your personal preference. With 24-hour care, the caregiver is always awake and alert, ready to provide care and assistance whenever needed. They don’t require a sleeping space, and knowing that a professional caregiver is alert at all times gives peace of mind to many families.


Unlike with live-in care, 24-hour caregivers are paid at an hourly rate, which when broken down can cost more than live-in care – (but remember with 24 hour care the staff is awake and alert at all times without a 4 hour break during the day and a 8 hour sleep or rest period where they are not on duty), especially since Medicare doesn’t cover any of the costs. Just like with live-in care, long-term care insurance, Medicaid, and veteran’s aid may help cover the costs of 24-hour care.


If cost is a big determining factor of which type of care you will be choosing, it might help to know the average time your loved one might need care. Women needing long-term care, on average, need two and a half years of care. Men, on the other hand, tend to need one and a half years. These numbers are only averages and don’t necessarily reflect on your own situation, as everyone is different. An AARP study also found that only 14 percent of individuals needing long-term care needed care for five or more years.


When deciding between live-in care and 24-hour care, make sure to discuss the options with your doctor. They will help you decide the amount of care necessary for your loved one and advise you on the best course of action to take for caring for your loved one. Another tip when researching care is to ask if there are any contracts that would make you and your loved one responsible or committed to the care option you choose for a specific amount of time.

We always advise families that if they are unsure on the amount of care or the type of care that will best serve their needs that they can start with one option and then always change it if they find it is too much or not enough. We do not use contracts at our company, rather, we tell families we want this to be a good fit for not only them, but also their loved one and not obligate them with a contract.


However, we understand that a lof of companies require families to sign a contract for a certain amount of time that they will then be committed to. Just remember, whether it is for 24-hour care, live-in care, or respite care to ask these questions and to do your research before choosing the company that will be caring for your loved one.


We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.


Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be discussing How to Help Senior’s with Allergies.




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