Live-in care is an underutilized services home care companies can provide.  When someone needs a lot of care, as in over eight hours a day, it is good to talk about live-in care and the pro’s and con’s associated with the service.

What You Will Learn

  • What Live-in Care Is
  • The Great Cost to Care Ratio
  • Specific Requirements Needed
  • Who Uses It
  • Benefits

What is Live-In Care?

Live-in care is a service provided by private home care agencies where a caregiver moves into a client’s home to be able to provide them assistance at any time while there.  A caregiver is available during the day and throughout the night for minor tasks.

A caregiver’s schedule is split into two shifts, a weekday and weekend shift.   The primary caregiver would provide the weekdays and a weekend shift with a different caregiver.  This provides breaks and prevents burn out of the caregivers.  Additionally, it allows the client to get to know two different caregivers to see who the prefer the most, and if needed, one caregiver could fill in for the other.

Cost to Care Ratio

One of the best reasons to have live-in care is the cost to care ratio.  Using Massachusetts as an example, the average hourly caregiver cost $26 per hour (equaling $624per day) to the client receiving care, while live-in care cost roughly $300 per day – a flat daily charge.  It is obvious the cost saving benefits of having a live-in caregiver.  It provides 24 hours of care for a fraction of the cost.

Specific Requirements Needed

Now just because you want live-in care, it does not mean that you can automatically place a caregiver in a home, and that’s that.  The requirements are;

  1. Private room and bed – Having a private room and bed, ideally with a tv, is a requirement.  The caregivers deserve time to unwind and relax at the end of a long day.  They need a place to sleep as well as change their clothing.  They need room to have their space.
  2. The client will need to be able to sleep throughout the night.  If they are getting up once or twice, at night for something quick (like a the bathroom) is understandable, but once the caregiver is not sleeping soundly through the night, they will be unable to do their job effectively the next day.
  3. The client in need of care is open to having someone in the home 24 hours a day.  It can be a struggle convincing someone to accept 24-hour care.  People want their privacy and their independence and feel someone being their removes both.  Just because someone needs care, does not mean they are willing to accept it.

Who Uses It

The best applications for this service is someone who is up during the day and sleeps throughout the night.  People who are afraid of falling, are recovering from surgery or an injury, and those that have dementia use live-in care more often than other clients.   The clients usually are sleeping throughout the night and do not need to get up often.

Live-in care cannot be used in assisted living, independent living, and nursing homes because most often there isn’t an additional private room where someone can sleep at night.

If a client does get up multiple times during the night and a live-in no longer can be used, shift care must come in to provide services.  The options for that are switched to two twelve hour shifts, or keeping the live-in caregivers there, but adding an eight hour night shift from 11pm-7am to stay awake and help the client as the other caregiver sleeps.


There are some advantages to live-in care that make it the best option for many families.  First is the price, at $290-310 per day this is up to 54% cheaper than paying for around the clock daily care.

Additionally, it helps immensely with scheduling.  Have two people in the home providing care rather than 6-8 is easier on the client and easier to schedule too.  It allows consistency and fewer issues with tardiness or scheduling problems.

Finally, it minimized the number of caregivers needed.   It is much easier on demented seniors who have trouble with many different faces.  Additionally, it is easier for the family members because they get to know the caregivers much better.

Wrapping It Up

In the end, live-in care is an outstanding option at 50% the cost of shift 24 hour care. I always suggest looking into when families consider increasing their services to over eight hours per day.  As with everything, you must do what is best for each families, but if possible, live-in care provides the best coverage for the money.