When a senior or patient only needs assistance with a a few daily tasks, such as housekeeping and cooking, hiring a carer for just a few hours a day may be enough. If there is a need for care around the clock, though, you may need to choose between live-in or 24-hour care. Both options allow the patient to stay in their own home, in comfortable surroundings, but there are some big differences between the two types of care.
A live-in carer stays in your home. They provide care throughout the day, but will need meal breaks and an 8-hour sleeping period. Typically, two carers will alternate, with four days covered by one carer and three days covered by another.
24 hour care means that there is always a carer on duty and awake. Each carer will usually work an eight hour shift, so that every day the patient will have at least three different carers and perhaps more if the carers rotate days.
Advantages of Live-In Care
Continuity of Care
One key advantage of live-in care is the one-to-one contact. A single trained carer can be more in tune with a senior’s normal behavior and symptoms, and notice when there are changes that need to be addressed. For example, the patient may have more trouble walking, may be eating less or may forget more. A carer that sees the patient all the time will be more able to detect subtle changes, and bring problems to the attention of doctors and the family.
Opportunities to Bond
Because the patient will see the same carer every day, there is more possibility to develop a friendship or loving relationship. Many studies show that maintaining social contacts is beneficial to a patients well-being, and may speed recovery or delay decline.
Live-in care can be substantially less expensive than 24-hour hourly care. Sleep hours may not be included in the cost, and the cost of room and board me sometimes be used to defray the cost of care. Of course, be aware that this does mean setting up a room for the carer.
When to choose 24-Hour Care
Need for Constant Medical Attention
If a patient has critical medical needs that require monitoring or treatment during the night, but prefers a home environment to hospitalization or moving to a nursing home, 24 hour care provides round the clock attention. The night shift carer will be awake to take care of critical needs.
Late-Stage Dementia Needs
Live-in caregivers have the right to sleep, and might not be aware if a dementia patient manages to get out of the house while they are sleeping.