• 03 August 2021
  • 10 min read

How To Become A Live-In Carer

  • Alison Cooper
    Live-In Carer
    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
  • 0
  • 372
"Live-In Care roles can be from a few days to many years and there are no guarantees, so you must be somebody who embraces change."

Drawing from her own experience, Alison describes the process of becoming a Live-In Carer, outlining what the role entails, salary expectations and how you can find the right role for you.

Topics covered in this article

Introduction

Find Out About The Employer

What Kind Of Person Might Choose To Become A Live-In Carer?

My First Steps To Becoming A Live-In Carer

What Qualifications You Will Need To Be A Live-In Carer?

Gaining Experience As A Live-In Carer

My First Post As A Live-In Carer

What To Expect From Your Job As A Live-In Carer

What Salary & Pay Can You Expect As A Live-In Carer?

How Does Working In The NHS Differ To The Private Sector?

What Kind Of Settings Do Live-In Carers Work In?

What Keeps Me Excited About Being A Live-In Carer

What Are The Challenges Faced By A Live-In Carer?

What Are The Career Opportunities For An Experienced Live-In Carer?

How Do You Deal With The Emotions Of The Job?

My Live-In Carer Interview Advice  

Introduction

The shortage of carers in the UK makes anyone considering this as a new career an attractive prospect for care organisations.

Although it is not essential to be a driver and car owner, it will make your job easier and more attractive to employers so I would suggest you consider this first.

Once you have passed your test and have your own car, research local care organisations and call them.

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Find Out About The Employer

From the outside, it is impossible to know which organisation is going to work well for you so create a short list of questions to ask them and then decide who you would like to work for based on their answers.

Useful questions are:

What is your hourly/daily/weekly rates of pay?

Do you pay petrol expenses? If so, what pence per mile do you pay?

Do you provide sick and holiday pay?

Are there any other benefits? Pension? Training?

What are the hours of work?

How long are the shifts?

Is the work regular? Monday to Friday or weekends? 

Do you provide uniform and PPE?

Are your carers employed (PAYE) or self-employed?

What Kind Of Person Might Choose To Become A Live-In Carer?

In addition to the basic skills needed to work in care - patience, communication empathy, reliability and honesty - as a Live-In Carer you must also be comfortable living away from home and can adapt to your surroundings.

Live-In Care roles can be from a few days to many years and there are no guarantees, so you must be somebody who embraces change.

You also need to be a people person as you will become one of the family, which is as demanding as rewarding.

You also need to consider your own family.

Do they need you at home and will you be comfortable leaving them?

My First Steps To Becoming A Live-In Carer

My first job as a carer was with a care agency, visiting clients in their own homes for early, midday, afternoon and evening calls.

This agency paid for the training I needed to work as a carer.

After this I worked in private care on a daily basis and moved into Live-In Care with less than a year's care experience behind me.

What Qualifications You Will Need To Be A Live-In Carer?

You need no qualifications to be a carer or a Live-In Carer although all employers will ask you to undergo a DBS check.

This check will tell your prospective employer if you have any convictions, cautions, reprimands, final warnings or if you are barred from working with either adults or children.

Some agencies require you to have the basic qualifications such as safeguarding, people moving and handling, knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act and basic first aid.

If you want to gain these qualifications they can be easily completed online, at minimal cost.

Gaining Experience As A Live-In Carer

As all clients and placements are different, but each placement will increase your level of experience.

As no two clients are the same, the differing demands constantly expand your range of skills and list of conditions you have dealt with.

Even if you stay with the same client for a length of time, their condition and demands are likely to change and, in this way, you gain experience.

My First Post As A Live-In Carer

My first post as a Live-In Carer was four hours’ drive from home.

I worked 24/7 with two hours off each afternoon for four weeks and then had one week off.

During my week off, I sometimes went home and, at other times, went to visit friends and family. My client had had dementia and Parkinson’s for many years and moved into residential care when my placement ended.

As an introduction to Live-In Care, it had benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits: nice house and garden, own room and bathroom, nice town with lots to see close by.

Drawbacks: sharing the house and caring responsibilities with my client’s husband.

What To Expect From Your Job As A Live-In Carer

All Live-In Care jobs will differ, but you should expect to be provided with a comfortable bedroom of your own, you should feel safe, respected and appreciated.

Upon arrival you will hopefully be given a detailed handover from the current carer, but this is not always the case.

If you are fortunate enough to have a handover, ask as many questions as you need to and ask if you can contact the carer should you have any questions.

Give yourself time to get used to the role.

You will need to acclimatise yourself to your new surroundings and your client will need time to feel comfortable with you living in their home.

Thereafter, if at any point you are not happy with your placement discuss your concerns with your employer to find a solution but do not stay in a placement if you are unhappy, this is not good for you or your client.

What Salary And Pay Can You Expect As A Live-In Carer?

The minimum weekly pay for a Live-In Carer is £600.

In addition to this your employer will either give you £30 to buy your own food or will buy your shopping for you.

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Do you have any questions about Live-In Care?

Post Your Questions & Comments Below

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Many employees pay more than £600 and I have seen live-in roles advertised for £900 per week, depending on experience.

How Does Working In The NHS Differ To The Private Sector?

There are basically three ways to work in care: for the NHS, in the private sector i.e. care homes or care agencies or working for a client directly.

As a rule, it is more lucrative to work for a client directly where you can negotiate your own salary, terms and conditions.

If you work for either the NHS or in the private sector the organisation you work for set the salary you are paid and the conditions under which you work.

Some carers need the sense of security that working for the NHS or private sector offer.

If you work for your client directly you will need to declare your earnings, pay your own income tax and complete your own tax return each year.

You can hire an accountant to do this for you at an approximate cost of £400 per year.

This expense is easily covered by the increased rates you can charge when working privately.

What Kind Of Settings Do Live-In Carers Work In?

Live-In Care work is always in the client’s home which differ wildly.

For example, I have had Live-In Care roles in small, two-bedroom, ex-council flats in London and Live-In Care roles where I stayed in a separate, self-contained apartment.

If possible, I would suggest visiting the property before you commit to taking the role or asking the client to video the living accommodation for you.

For example, a live-in role which offers a self-contained apartment which is separate from the client’s property would sound tempting but if it is dirty, smelly and damp then you would want to reconsider.

Also, is proximity to home or local amenities important to you?

Some roles are on very remote and in secluded properties, would you be comfortable in that scenario?

What Keeps Me Excited About Being A Live-In Carer

Care work is always rewarding and gives me a sense of purpose.

Now I am working for an agency that provides short-term Live-In Care for clients needing cover for their current carer who may be taking a break.

Working in this way provides endless variety.

These short-term contracts enable me to meet many new people and live in different places which suits me.

What Are The Challenges Faced By A Live-In Carer?

There are many challenges to be faced in Live-In Care, which differ depending on the placement.

Common challenges are other members of the existing support network, living with other family members and adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings.

All of these challenges can be overcome if everyone remembers the most important person is the client themselves, and everyone works together to make their home life as comfortable and as peaceful as possible.

What Are The Career Opportunities For An Experienced Live-In Carer?

Experienced Live-In Carers are in great demand and a career in care will provide you with a good income for as long as you choose to work as there is no set retirement age for a private Live-In Carer.

The longer you remain in post and the more reliant the client and their families become on you, the more your value increases (although never think you’re indispensable).

Whether you want to work for the NHS, in the private sector, work privately and stay with the same client for decades or take on short-term placements you will always be able to find work as a Live-In Carer.

How Do You Deal With The Emotions Of The Job?

Working with vulnerable clients and seeing them suffer can be upsetting but you should take comfort from knowing you are always doing the best you can under the circumstances.

Having others rely on you is as tiring as it is rewarding so take regular breaks and get as much rest as possible.

If at any point you feel the job is getting too much for you take a break.

You can’t provide a good level of support to others if you are not feeling 100% yourself.

My Live-In Carer Interview Advice

Be yourself.

There’s no point trying to pretend you’re somebody you’re not as you’ll be found out quickly.

When you’re living with a client or family 24-7, they will very quickly get to know you and if you’ve claimed you’re are something you’re not they will immediately see right through you.

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Do you have any questions about Live-In Care?

Post Your Questions & Comments Below

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About the author

  • Alison Cooper
    Live-In Carer

I am 60 this year and proving that you are never too young to start a new career! I worked as a graphic designer for 40 years and moved into care when Covid hit. I have worked in a variety of home care jobs: agency domiciliary care, private PA / personal daily domiciliary care and now I am a private live-in carer. All three set-ups have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is impossible to know which will suit you until you try them.

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  • Alison Cooper
    Live-In Carer

About the author

  • Alison Cooper
    Live-In Carer

I am 60 this year and proving that you are never too young to start a new career! I worked as a graphic designer for 40 years and moved into care when Covid hit. I have worked in a variety of home care jobs: agency domiciliary care, private PA / personal daily domiciliary care and now I am a private live-in carer. All three set-ups have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is impossible to know which will suit you until you try them.

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