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Care & carers

Has anyone worked as a live-in carer?

(24 Posts)
Luckygirl Fri 06-Sep-19 10:15:22

We have employed 3 so far and have a new one coming on Saturday. I would love to here how it is for the carer - I know it is a bit of a difficult balancing act from our side. I would be pleased to hear any thoughts from their side.

Luckygirl Fri 06-Sep-19 10:15:49

.... or even hear.....!

silverlining48 Fri 06-Sep-19 11:18:13

I would imagine it’s quite hard to be a stranger moving into someone else’s home needing to get to know the person they are caring fir, their medical needs and where everything is. Also the partner and extended family, who all may have an opinion on how things should be.
Long days, even longer nights, it’s not something I would ever want to do but am glad there are those who do. It must be very hard.
Wish you well with the next carer luckygirl.

Tedber Sun 08-Sep-19 17:54:18

I think you have to remember that this is a 'job' for the live in carer and not put unreasonable requests on them. For example they should only be doing an 8-10 hour day/night and have the usual free time as with any job. They should be in full attendance and improve the lives of their service users when they are on duty but they need a life of their own as well. Salary should take into account accommodation but should not automatically assume the person is available 24/7.

Food arrangements should be discussed upfront i.e. are they able to eat with the person they support or need to provide their own, including teas and coffees?

Finding the perfect person is hard but it works both ways. Mutual respect is a must. Not sure what problems the supported person has but if say epilepsy and the need to administer drugs then it goes without saying that they need to be adequately trained.

You hear horror stories about carers but on the other hand there are equally horror stories about employers. Some employers treat carers of their 'loved ones' appallingly. I would never contemplate living in t.b.h.

stella1949 Sun 08-Sep-19 18:25:19

I'm a nurse and have worked in the home care field, but I can't imagine anything worse than doing a live-in job like that.

Home care can be very draining and demanding at the best of times - the person you are caring for ( and their families) often don't recognise boundaries and expect the carer to do anything and everything that they decide they want. As a home carer I've been asked to do the family's grocery shopping ( because I had a car !) , write weekly letters to the Queen telling her how to run the country , or to fix the faulty television set. But at least I got to go home at the end of my shift !

If I'd been living in the house with them, my working hours would never seem to end , since I'd be there all the time. Boundaries would be very blurred if we were all eating together, sleeping in the next room, using the same bathroom etc. I'd feel that I was "on call" night and day . To me it would be the worst of all worlds.

I wish you well with finding someone suitable - but I'm not surprised that three carers have come and gone. In your situation wouldn't it be better to have a day person and a night person ? So they could go back home after their work is finished ?

notanan2 Sun 08-Sep-19 18:57:54

No I could never cope with the dynsmic but I have had non carer live in jobs and its horrible! You feel you cannot speak up as your employer has so much power over you: if you lose your job you lose your home!

Luckygirl Sun 08-Sep-19 19:03:44

Just to clarify - the 3 carers we have had have not gone because of any particular problem. The system with most agencies is that carers live in for x weeks and then go off for a couple of weeks break. It just happens that the ones we have had will not be back - not because it all broke down, but because one has family responsibilities and only does short placements; one was only booked as an interim carer; and the one who has just gone should never have been doing the job as she had a problem with her back and had been advised against the job by a consultant - but she did not tell the agency that - she had been doing it for years.

I just wondered how it feels to be a live-in carer and if someone had actually done this at any time in their lives.

My OH's carer has lots of time off - we are obliged to arrange 2 hours off a day, which we do; but in between the mammoth tasks of getting him up and washed and dressed and the reverse in the evening, all she has to do is make snacks for him (I cook a main meal) and sometimes be here when I am out (just short periods - e.g. a choir rehearsal) to make sure he is safe. Very occasionally he will need attention at night, but usually only once. So it is not such an onerous job - I am just not physically fit enough to do the transfers etc. - and being with him all the time does my head in!!!

People choose to become live-in carers as it is quite lucrative - I pay an arm and a leg, and they have no food, heating, lighting, council tax etc. to pay.

One problem we have had is that most have been townies and find it hard to adapt to the idea that there is no shop/cafe/cinema within walking distance. And 2 of them have chickened out of going for walks in the beautiful wood nearby as they were scared when they go there!

It feels almost impossible to get the balance of boundaries right - easy to do in a professional setting - more difficult at home.

.....and I have just broken off this post because my OH has asked the carer for sardines on toast for tea and she did not know how to make it - so I have been showing her.......

Hetty58 Sun 08-Sep-19 19:34:02

My friend had carers through an agency, with three eight-hour shifts, usually of two people. Most would only work in pairs, as she needed hoisting to be moved.

The best carer she had was cheerful, helpful, confident to do the hoisting single-handed and cooked her nice meals. Most of them, however, had limited English language, were sullen and refused to cook. She was offered toast or ready meals. We often took her meals and snacks, shopped and cleaned for her and popped in to keep her company.

Generally, the carers seemed reluctant to do anything either not on their 'list' or directly related to her personal care. She went off to hospital one morning (having fallen out of bed) and the next shift arrived, unaware that she'd gone. I went in to get her nighties etc. as requested. I found the carers sitting there watching a film as they 'had to finish the shift'. They seemed quite surprised when I gave them a piece of my mind!

MissAdventure Sun 08-Sep-19 19:40:38

I have done live in sessions.
Usually the afternoon, evening, sleep-in and the next day, evening, and another sleep-in.

I haven't done the weeks on end type.

I would just do whatever that person wanted me to, during the time I was there (massaging his feet, whilst he blasted out music, then being banished off to sit on my own in a drab little bedroom)

We also went out and did the shopping together, or out to do something that interested him.

Tedber Sun 08-Sep-19 19:46:28

Stella49 is probably accurate in that maybe you should consider hiring a day carer and a night carer probably more than one?

Not sure if I read your post right? You give the carers 2 hours a day off? Is that it? Not getting at you but if that is what you mean, who would agree to that?

As you say people who come for live in jobs have no overheads so maybe that is the attraction rather than being interested in taking care of your OH? Just a point to ponder.

Like Stella I have experience in care and I am a great carer but no way would I ever consider a live-in position for the reasons she has stated (which is pretty accurate believe me). Please look again at the possibility of hiring day and night care living out. Lots of great carers out there who know how to make sardines on toast lol but would never consider a live in post.

Riverwalk Sun 08-Sep-19 19:53:23

Having a day carer/night carer is too expensive for most people. The board & lodgings element and no expenses is what attracts overseas carers - their wages are lower as a result.

Tedber Sun 08-Sep-19 19:59:43

Ahh yes Riverwalk cost. Thing is if you get someone who is attracted because of the promise of free board and lodgings probably isn't the right person for the job? Have they had any kind of training for one thing? Are they insured? Phew minefield....

Luckygirl Sun 08-Sep-19 21:08:23

Minefield indeed! The law states 2 hours a day off in daylight hours; but, as I explained above, there is a great deal more time than that when she is not actively doing anything. There are bursts of activity.

Day carer/night carer is virtually twice the cost. Not possible.

Tedber Sun 08-Sep-19 21:19:12

Sorry Luckygirl...don't mean to offend but it sounds like "Upstairs Downstairs" - 2 hours off in daylight hours?

So what is this person who you are employing expected to do?

Am really not criticising ...just curious.

2 hours off and then what? 22 hours on duty? Yes I get that it won't be continuous but does the in-help have to be available for all that time just in case they are needed?

Phew....good luck hon. And am not saying it lightly. I do understand how it is when someone needs round the clock attention and I feel it for you.

Luckygirl Sun 08-Sep-19 22:40:38

The pattern of time off/on is set in law and all the agencies abide by that. I am very diligent about making sure that the carer gets her "statutory" time off and more. The carers tell me of employers who virtually tie them to the house and they think they have fallen on their feet here.

I feel the Upstairs/Downstairs aspect and hate it - but what else can I do? I have an incapacitated husband and I am not able to look after him. I cannot afford what we are doing let alone the alternative: a nursing home, which would cost even more. I am between a rock and a hard place. I would dearly love to chuck it all over and have my life back, but I have to make the best of things - believe me none of this is of my choosing. I just have to soldier on however much I hate it.

MissAdventure Sun 08-Sep-19 22:53:19

I certainly never got 2 hours off in my work pattern when living in, apart from the fact that my gentleman was quite unsociable and didn't want me around him.

I couldn't have left the premises, although it would have been safe to do so.

allule Sun 15-Sep-19 10:25:34

Luckygirl, your arrangement sounds like ours. We have a key carer for 3 to 5 weeks with short term carers when they have holidays.

The two hours free time is really a guaranteed time when carers are free to make their own plans to go out...if there is anywhere to go! Otherwise it works flexibly and a good agency will try to match carers to clients.
We like our privacy, and get on well with carers who follow their own doing an online degree, one planning her wedding...

The big game changer has been the internet, they have plenty of free time to spend on the phone or on Skype, in between carrying out tasks.
Ours is finished with us by nine, and I would only call her in the night for an emergency.
She keeps the agency in touch with her timing, and someone calls regularly to make sure things are going smoothly.

We are vegetarian, so rather than providing meals, we go for the option of giving the carer a food allowance, and my daughter takes them to a supermarket when they arrive.

Luckygirl Sun 15-Sep-19 10:46:16

That is interesting allule - someone else in the same boat!

Each carer seems to do things differently. Some are happy spending time on their own; some natter a lot! I do find it hard sharing my home - and kitchen! - with a virtual stranger. I think our position is slightly different to most because I am self-caring and they are here to look after OH - I think that mostly they have just one person in the home to look after as they see fit.

And they differ in how they want to deal with food. The latest carer eats the sort of food that I would not go near - beefburgers, pork chops, Kentucky fried chicken etc. What I have done is to ask her for a list of what she wants and I add that to my online Tesco shop.

She finds it hard living in the country as she normally lives in London, having come from Zimbabwe about 20 years ago. I showed her where she could walk from here to a lovely wood, but she was "never so frightened in my life" as she was there - "It is all just bushes and trees" - ah yes! - a wood!!! But she loves the kindness of strangers out here, and has been blown away by that.

Her is a huge task as OH is helpless, and sometimes calls in the night for trivial things, in spite of me trying to persuade him not to.

The big blessing of this arrangement is that I am able to leave the house if I wish to, having been tied here for many years.

Did you go through an agency?

trisher Sun 15-Sep-19 11:48:59

No experience of this but I did have a conversation on the airport bus in Jersey with a lady who was a live-in-carer. She did 3 weeks, on three weeks off. Lived on the mainland was a carer in Jersey. She said the thing she missed most was her family and GCs but she kept in touch with them by face timing. Don't know if this will help. But hope you manage to sort things.

EllanVannin Sun 15-Sep-19 12:00:24

I did this a number of years ago as a favour for a friend who was on holiday. I was working at the same time and when the person looking after the old lady had finished her daytime stint, I then took over for the night ( knackered and needing matchsticks for the eyelids ) I did my night duties getting the old dear ready for bed, a nightly drink, toilet etc and putting her safely to bed.

Imagine to my horror when the old dear came into the lounge with a cup of tea for me saying that she'd been ringing her handbell at 5am for the toilet and I'd been dead to the world !!
How I got through that week I've never known to this day, but I did and the old lady hadn't wanted me to go either. I think it will remain to be just a blot on my memory.

Jane10 Sun 15-Sep-19 12:14:31

It's off the subject a bit but have any of you read 'The Carer' by Deborah Moggach?
It was a good read but not necessarily a great life.

MorganBennett Thu 03-Oct-19 11:30:33

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MissAdventure Thu 03-Oct-19 11:37:57


OPgrndtr Mon 11-Nov-19 19:48:25

I am a live-in carer for my DMum who went on Hospice care two weeks ago. My husband and I moved in then. He sleeps in the den and I have the small guestroom. We also have to let out her little poodle about five times in 24 hours. My only brother lives three states away, so he can't help. There is no system here that pays for any type of care, so we are hear until the end. These two weeks have felt like a month. I have to be available when she calls for anything at anytime. When she falls my DH is able to pick her up. Neither one of us has any training in nursing, but we can call the Hospice RN at any time. I wouldn't do this job for anyone else. There is no off time ever.