Care home vs live-in care: which option is better for you or your loved one?

As a growing older population, according to Age UK, by our late 80s, more than one in three of us will have difficulties undertaking five or more tasks of daily living unaided – this indicates a rising demand for care services in this country. 

If you or a loved one needs around-the-clock care, you may presume a care home is the only option. However, most people want to stay in their homes but are unaware of the alternatives to care homes. Plus, it is a proven fact for those living with dementia that their home is their ‘memory box’. So, private live-in care may be the answer.

“83% of people with dementia said being able to live in their own home was very important” Alzheimer’s Society.

So, find out more about nursing homes and live-in care services to determine which is suitable for you or your loved one.

What is a Nursing Home?

nursing home

A nursing home is a specialised residential facility designed for individuals, often elderly or disabled, with complex health needs or limited mobility. These facilities provide medical supervision and assistance with daily activities, ensuring the well-being and safety of residents through regulated routines. 

In nursing homes, staff operate on shift patterns, and residents don’t have a single dedicated live-in carer. The communal living setup may alleviate practical concerns but could lead to a loss of independence as many choices are made for residents.

Moving to a nursing home, especially for individuals displaying symptoms of dementia, can be stressful due to adapting to a new environment. The unfamiliar surroundings may exacerbate issues like anxiety and agitation. 

Additionally, the staff in nursing homes, managing multiple patients, may struggle to provide the same level of personalised care as a live-in carer. 

Let’s find out more about live-in carers and how what they offer differs from nursing homes.

What is a Live-In Carer?

live in carer

A live-in carer is a dedicated and professional live-in carer who offers 24/7 support by residing in the home of the individual requiring care. This form of live-in homecare is designed to provide continuous assistance while allowing the care recipient to retain their independence. 

A live-in carer is a companion and facilitator. Their responsibilities include assisting with daily activities, personal care, and meeting medical needs. 

In addition to practical support, live-in carers offer emotional support and companionship, addressing the individual’s holistic well-being. They play a pivotal role in enabling the care recipient, particularly older people or those facing health challenges, to engage in social events and physical activities. 

This personalised approach to care ensures that the individual’s unique needs are met within their home’s familiar and comforting surroundings.

What’s the Difference Between a Nursing Home and Live-In Care?

Receiving care at home is a very different experience from receiving care in a residential setting, where there’s no single carer dedicated to looking after your loved one. 

With a live-in carer, you receive one-to-one, tailored support without sharing your carer with other residents. Home care also enables you to continue living safely and independently in familiar surroundings, staying together with pets and having family and friends over to visit at any time.

Let’s further explore the differences between a nursing home and live-in care.

Live-in Care Care Home
Stay in your own home v Move to a new environment
Costs from £1095 per week v Average cost £1300 per week
One to one care in your own home v Shared carers
Continuity and choice of lifestyle v Change of lifestyle
Funding available v Funding available
Choice of menu and meal times v Set menus and meal times
Freedom to have family and pets at home v Communal areas and rules

Personalised Care

Nursing homes provide personalised care in a structured environment with services and activities designed for residents. 

In a group setting, residents share common spaces, and personalised care is delivered within a standardised living environment. This balance aims to create a supportive atmosphere within the communal setting of a nursing home.

In contrast, live-in carers deliver personalised attention within the individual’s home, offering highly tailored care plans based on specific needs, preferences, and daily routines. 

Live-in care’s notable strengths include flexibility and adaptability, allowing carers to adjust routines to accommodate changing needs. 

This personalised and adaptive live-in care model contrasts with the structured setting of nursing homes, emphasising the unique advantages of receiving comprehensive support within the familiarity of one’s home.


In nursing homes, individuals may experience limited autonomy as their daily lives are often structured by the facility’s policies. Routines, meal times, and activities are predetermined, potentially constraining personal choices and schedules. 

Although communal spaces exist, decisions about daily activities, meals, and care are often made collectively, limiting individual autonomy in decision-making. 

Conversely, individuals receiving live-in care at home generally enjoy enhanced independence. The familiar environment of their own residence allows them to make decisions about daily routines, activities, and preferences with the assistance of a dedicated carer. 

Ultimately, with live-in care, individuals can exert more control over their living space, maintain greater privacy, and dictate the timing of daily activities.


The level of personalisation and comfort within nursing homes may be restricted as common areas and resources are shared among residents. This communal living arrangement can impact individuals’ privacy and personal space. 

Additionally, staff rotation during different shifts in nursing homes may lead to less continuity of care. The presence of various carers can potentially affect the comfort and familiarity that come with consistent, personalised assistance. This variability in live-in care personnel can impact the overall comfort and sense of security experienced by residents in nursing home settings.

Live-in carers provide personalised support within the individual’s own home. This creates a familiar environment, surrounded by belongings and memories, fostering a higher level of comfort. 

Live-in carers also offer comprehensive support, assisting with various household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping.

Emotional and Mental Well-Being

Nursing homes often address residents’ emotional well-being through structured programs and activities. While these initiatives aim to provide emotional support, the group setting and standardised activities may not always cater to individual preferences, potentially impacting the emotional connection residents experience. 

In contrast, live-in carers offer a more personalised approach to emotional well-being. Living-in carers foster a close and intimate relationship with the individual by providing continuous one-on-one emotional support. 

Additionally, live-in carers can adapt their care approach based on the emotional needs of the individual, offering a flexible and responsive support system.


Is live-in care cheaper than a nursing home?

On average, the weekly cost for residency in a nursing home in the UK could range from £700 to over £1,500. It’s important to note that these figures are approximate, and actual costs may differ. 

The cost of IP Live-in Care’s services starts from £1095 per week for a single person. For couples, the price starts from £1495 per week; in comparison, a nursing home will still charge the single-person rate for each individual, perhaps with a slight reduction, but, overall, making it more costly.

Safety and Security

In nursing homes, reliance on institutional security measures may vary in effectiveness, with residents experiencing limited personal oversight. 

On the other hand, live-in care ensures constant, personalised presence, addressing immediate safety concerns and implementing tailored safety measures based on individual needs and habits.

Family Involvement

The transition to a nursing home can sometimes lead to feelings of loneliness as individuals are removed from their familiar surroundings, affecting existing relationships with friends, family, and the broader community. 

The challenges of adapting to a new environment, surrounded by strangers and an unfamiliar routine, can compound communication difficulties, making the need for family involvement and support crucial.

Contrastingly, live-in care offers a more inclusive approach to family involvement. Individuals receiving live-in care can have visitors whenever they like, enabling them to spend quality time with friends and family in their homes. This flexibility promotes a sense of continuity in relationships, maintaining vital support and connection with loved ones.

Quality of Life

The structured and communal environment of a nursing home may limit the degree of personalisation and individual freedom, potentially impacting the overall quality of life. 

The tailored nature of live-in care ensures that the unique needs and preferences of the individual are prioritised, contributing to a more fulfilling and enriching daily experience compared to the standardised setting of a nursing home.

Medication Management

Medication management is typically administered centrally in a nursing home, resulting in a standardised approach that may not cater to individual preferences. 

Live-in care offers a more individualised approach to medication management. With a focus on personal preferences, live-in carers ensure that medication routines are tailored to the specific needs of the individual. 

Continuous monitoring by a live-in carer further reduces the risk of errors and allows for prompt adjustments, enhancing medication management’s overall safety and effectiveness.

Meal Plans

Live-in care stands out in providing a more personalised approach to meal planning than nursing homes. 

Live-in carers can tailor meal plans to accommodate individual preferences, dietary restrictions, and specific health needs, ensuring a more personalised and enjoyable dining experience. 

So, live-in care vs a care home: which is best? Ultimately, this will depend on your needs or those of your loved one, but this blog should have covered all the essential points to help you make an informed decision. 

To conclude, most people with complex care conditions presume a nursing home is the only option. This is not the case. 

A live-in carer can support those living with brain injuries, stroke, spinal injuries and even neurodegenerative conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease, all in the comfort of their own home.

Live-in care is especially beneficial for young adults as they can live independently when supported by an experienced carer.

If you’re thinking about home care for a loved one and want to know how care services could support you and your family, contact us today. 

IP Live-in Care offers a range of live-in carers on both a long-term and short-term basis, providing care you control to meet your needs. Alternatively, call us today on 0330 0535014 for an informal chat about how it works or to arrange live-in care.