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live-in care

Is live-in care cheaper than a nursing home?


The cost of live-in care versus nursing home care varies depending on a number of factors. It is important to take into account the level of care needed by a patient and where in the country the patient is based. Patients requiring care from a registered nurse will also find that charges are higher, whether that’s for live-in care or residential care in a nursing home.

The differences between home care and care homes 

What is home care?

A home care service is when a support or care worker provides the care and support you need within your own home so you can continue to live there. It is a popular option: according to a report from OnePoll 2014, 97% of people said they didn’t want to move into a care home, with 71% preferring to stay in their own home. There has been research to suggest that the trauma of moving into a care home can be detrimental for some people. 

Benefits of home care

  • There’s a sense of familiarity. Being surrounded by your own things in a place you know fosters a sense of wellbeing. You have friends and family close by and can also keep your pets with you, unlike in most care homes.
  • You retain independence. Having a bit of autonomy and control over who looks after you, and how often, is hugely important for staying mentally and emotionally healthy.
  • Care is tailored to your needs: with home care, you receive personal care and can change the contract to suit your needs at different stages. What may have started out as a once a day, hour-long visit could become three times a day or even an overnight stay for example.

Costs of home care

Live-in home care is traditionally a cheaper option than opting to stay in a residential care home. However, it does depend on the level of care and the amount of carer’s time that is required. 

  • According to, the average cost of live-in care for 14 hours of care a week is £19,000 a year. However, if you need full-time care during the day, costs could be more than double the above. 
  • If you need carers to move in around the clock and you have complex needs, it could cost about £83,200 a year. In those circumstances, residential care is usually more cost-effective. If you don’t have complex needs, fees should be about £41,000-£65,000 a year
  • Home improvements also need to be taken into account. For example, it might be necessary to carry out extensive adjustments to the home in order to make it safe and practical. 
  • The cost of living is an ongoing expense. Heating to provide hot meals and drinks and keep the house warm enough; keeping on top of home repairs; general upkeep such as gardening and cleaning; and daily tasks such as food shopping and bill payments all take time and money. 

What is a care home?

In a care home, residents receive round-the-clock care in a residential setting. Meals and activities are provided and residents may receive care from a number of different qualified staff. In a nursing home, there is also extra support from registered nurses.

Benefits of a care home

  • There’s constant care: with a number of staff on duty at any one time, there is always someone available should you need it. This can be reassuring for residents and family.
  • It provides social contact: feelings of loneliness and isolation can be a concern for older people but care homes provide opportunities to socialise with peers. Activities and outings are arranged and encouraged and there are plenty of socialising spaces for residents to enjoy. 
  • They are regularly inspected: the Care Quality Commission carries out regular inspections of care homes so standards across the country are regulated. 

Costs of a care home

Care home fees can be more expensive than home care, but for the level of round-the-clock support they offer, care homes can actually provide good value for money. Care home costs can also vary a great deal depending on a number of factors. 

  • According to the Laing & Buisson Care for Older People UK Market Report 2020, the average annual UK care home fees in 2019-20 were:
  • Residential (Frail older) – £34,686
  • Residential (Dementia) – £35,464
  • Nursing (Frail older) – £48,048
  • Nursing (Dementia) – £49,712
  • According to, the average cost of a care home in the UK is £42,536 per year for a residential home, and £51,376 per year for a nursing home. 
  • The type of care home you choose can mean huge fluctuations in price. Some care homes offer basic amenities while some are like luxury 5* resorts offering specialist care and a wider range of activities and services; these differences are reflected in price. Location is also important: care homes in London and where there is a long waiting list will be higher in cost.

Is funding available for care?

If you are considering some form of care for the future and are weighing up the pros and cons of home care versus care home, it is a good idea to explore the funding that might be available to you. You may be eligible to a certain amount of local council or NHS funding which could be put towards care and also help to pay for the cost of adapting your home if you require home care. 

Choosing a home care package

At Safehands, we know how important it is to patients and family to have the right form of care. We offer many home care options, such as our Supported Independent Living service, for individuals who need extra physical or emotional support while in their own home. We also offer a Live-In Care service that is fully regulated by the CQC. This is a particularly good option for couples who wish to remain resident in their own home as it can work out more cost effective than putting two people into a care home.

To discuss these and other options, do get in touch with our Safehands advisers. They can put together a custom package of care for you or your patient and will discuss any costs or potential sources of funding with you

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