What is it like to work as a live-in carer?
As a live-in carer, you have the opportunity to make a huge impact on someone’s life. However, as with any career, working as a live-in carer comes with its own requirements, responsibilities and challenges.
If you’re considering becoming a live-in carer, you may find yourself with many questions about what the experience will be like. You’ll find all the answers you need here.
Qualities of a good live-in carer
As a live-in carer, you will be spending significant amounts of quality time with elderly individuals, supporting and caring for them. As such, there are certain personality traits that successful carers generally share:
- Good communicator
Typical activities and responsibilities
People get live-in carers for their loved ones for a variety of reasons. Most often, you’ll either be there to help the elderly person with physical tasks they’re no longer able to do on their own, or your primary purpose may be to act as more of a companion, engaging the older person in conversation and ensuring that they don’t feel alone or isolated.
Your exact roles and responsibilities will vary from client to client; however, you can generally expect to help out with the following tasks:
- Helping with medication
- Doing household duties (cleaning or laundry)
- Cooking meals
- Running errands (grocery shopping)
- Providing bathroom support
- Assisting with mobility throughout the house
Do you get to take time off?
As a live-in carer, you’ll get breaks both during and between placements. A live-in care placement will generally last several weeks, after which you’ll get to enjoy an extended period of leave. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to commit to at least three weeks of work, as this will give you and the elderly person you’re looking after sufficient time to become comfortable with one another.
During a regular workweek, you’ll work six to seven days and get a total of 14 hours off. Generally, live-in carers will take two hours a day to themselves. It’s essential to take this time to do the things you enjoy, such as visiting friends, reading or exercising.
The challenges of working as a live-in carer
Working as a carer is a rewarding job overall. However, it doesn’t come without its challenges. While your position may require you to look after others, it’s important to look after yourself too.
- Providing physical assistance: This is one of the primary functions of almost every live-in carer. Apart from doing physical chores, you may often have to assist your elderly client in moving around. This physical labour can put a strain on your body, leading to fatigue and back pain at times.
- It can feel isolating: When working as a live-in carer, you’ll be on duty for several weeks at a time, and this can lead to you feeling isolated. This is why it’s so important to keep up with friends and family, so you don’t feel like your social interactions are non-existent.
- Increased levels of stress: As a carer, you’re responsible for looking after a more vulnerable individual. With all of the responsibilities and potential decisions you have to make, you may feel overwhelmed and stressed at times. Keeping a balance is an important way to manage your stress levels.
- It’s easy to neglect yourself: When you’re responsible for someone else’s wellbeing, it can be easy to put your own needs aside. Because of this, as well as the long hours required of this job, some live-in carers do experience depression. This is why it’s so important for you, as a carer, to make use of your breaks to take time to yourself and make time for your family and friends.