Live-in care - a realistic alternative

Elderly woman laughing with Bluebird Care carer doing an activity

'A dedicated person living with a customer can be very reassuring, providing companionship and helping to maintain routine and preserve home comforts.' - Credit: Bluebird Care

Arranging live-in care through a managed service can make all the difference to someone's physical, mental and emotional well-being. 

Susan and Philip King of Bluebird Care

Susan and Philip King. - Credit: Frances King

Susan and Philip King, owners of Bluebird Care Derbyshire Dales and Amber Valley, offer live-in support, in addition to bespoke hourly homecare.

Here, they outline the many benefits of choosing live-in care.

Q: What does live-in care involve?

It involves a care assistant living-in with an individual, or couple, who are choosing round-the-clock support. We believe it can work really well for many people, but not everyone realises this type of support is available for someone needing support throughout most of the day.

Initially, we meet with the customer and their family to discuss their requirements and, if they would like to go ahead, create an individual support plan. We then introduce a care assistant who will live-in and support with daily living tasks and activities.

Ongoing, we select a team of three care assistants, who will be assigned to work in rotation, although the customer will often usually have two care assistants with a third person to cover if necessary. All care assistants are introduced and become familiar faces. The care assistant may work between one and two weeks with a customer before having a break, dependent on the dependency level of the assignment.

The care assistant needs their own room and a few other essentials. The service is intended to be ‘light touch’, so the care assistant can be available as much or as little as the customer needs, as long as the care assistant receives their daily two hours’ break. This break can be covered by family members or by our team, where a customer prefers not to be, or is unable to be left alone. The care itself may involve personal care, cooking, shopping, light housekeeping, social activities etc – whatever is required to enable someone to remain supported in their own home.

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Q: Who might benefit from live-in care?

This service suits anyone who prefers to remain at home and can be ideal for those living with dementia. Family members tell us the routine and familiarity of being able to stay at home, combined with the presence of the carer, can help keep people stimulated. It can also suit others: with long-term health conditions or those who are socially isolated. Sometimes customers or family members ask us to cover respite care for a period while they go away, or to step in when someone comes out of hospital or is recuperating after an illness.

Q: What are the advantages of live-in care?

There are so many! Having a dedicated person living with a customer can be very reassuring – customers often sleeping better just knowing someone else is with them in the house. The carer can make sure they take their medication and eat and drink well. We see improvements in physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Not only is having a meal together good because the carer can promote good nutrition and hydration, but sitting down to eat with someone else is companionable and can also be mentally stimulating.

Elderly man and Bluebird Care carer out having a coffee

'Live-in care allows for much more flexibility, spontaneity and relaxed time.' - Credit: Bluebird Care

Live-in care allows for much more flexibility, spontaneity and relaxed time to do everything. If the sun is shining, the customer may decide to go out for a walk or a picnic and bathing and showering can happen when the moment is right. The carer can encourage the customer with their hobbies, and they can enjoy shopping, watching films, preparing meals and doing light chores together, keeping the customer active and involved. It is as much about companionship as care.

Family members can live their life, reassured that their relative is being supported and is safe and content. Visits become family visits again, not support visits.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your service?

We are a local family-run business, as part of a national franchise, offering support to people in their own homes. Our service covers Derbyshire Dales and Amber Valley, where we offer hourly support, but with live-in care, we can offer our service further afield, into other parts of Derbyshire. We started our business in 2013, having supported several of our own family members, and struggled at times to find good quality support, so we felt that we were well- placed to begin our own service.

We chose a town centre office to be accessible to the community. Customers, as well as their family members, can come to talk to us if they wish, and we can also discuss and deal with any matters that arise very quickly, because we are on hand and available. Being a family business, as part of a franchise, means that we can offer a personalised and managed service, but with the benefit and support of a larger organisation.

Rhiannon and Jane of the Bluebird Care Belper office

Rhiannon and Jane are available in the Belper office to support customers and the care team. - Credit: Bluebird Care

Our aim has always been to look after our customers well and we achieve this with teamwork and by valuing our employees - in part, by paying the Voluntary Living Wage, which is above the National Minimum Wage, and we are accredited employers with the Living Wage Foundation. Our team includes about 25 care assistants, many of whom have been with us for several years. We recruit carefully, looking for people who are professional, punctual and care in a professional way – that is important.

Additionally, we are regulated by the Care Quality Commission(CQC) and are required to have a programme of continual improvement which is embedded in our processes and values that teamwork. This adherence to quality and improvement has been recognised when we received an overall ‘Outstanding’ rating in February 2020, following our inspection. We have also won multiple Top Twenty awards for the East Midlands, from review website

Q: What are the financial considerations of live-in care?

Live-in care has a multitude of benefits to the individual or couple and their family, but there are additional costs to residential care to consider; household expenses for example. Although it doesn’t need to be considered as an alternative to a care home only; it can be life-enhancing for people who are choosing to remain safely at home but want to enjoy a fuller life, or just receive more support to make their life more comfortable. If you are unsure of the financial implications, we recommend that you have a discussion with your financial advisor on the plans and options available.

Visit or visit the FAQs page for more information. Call Jane or Rhiannon on 01773 880055.