Is Live-In Care Cheaper Than a Care Home? Comparing Costs and Value

James Bowdler

12 May, 2023

2 min read

For a single person, living alone, live-in care appears cheaper than a care home. The average live-in carer costs about £1,015 per week, whilst the average care home costs £1,160 per week. However, this does not take into account the costs of food, bills, and housing, the inclusion of which makes care homes more cost-effective than live-in carers. The exception if when there are 2 people in the home, in which case live-in care is always significantly less expensive.

For couples, the cost dynamics of care change significantly. Adding a second person to a live-in care arrangement increases the cost by only about 15%, whereas having two people in a care home effectively doubles the cost. Notably, having one person in a care home while another stays at home is the least cost-effective solution, as you maintain the cost of bills at home and also pay for care home fees.

However, most people want to remain in their own homes, and it is widely recognised that moving someone from their familiar surroundings into a care home can have a huge impact on any existing mental health issues, such as dementia, and can isolate people. In addition, a live-in carer will be someone you choose and can provide more personalised care in their own home, near the people the patient knows.

Thus, it is a balance between cost and quality of life, unless there are two people at home, in which case live-in care is always significantly cheaper.

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Detailed Cost Comparison

Cost of Care

Care Homes: The average cost of a care home in the UK ranges from £1,160 per week for regular care to £1,410 per week for nursing home care. These fees generally include accommodation, basic utilities, meals, and standard care services.

Live-In Care: Conversely, live-in care costs typically range between £845 per week to £1,400 per week. However, once you include food, household bills, and the cost of rent if applicable, this cost rises to become higher than a care home by one or two hundred pounds per week.

Cost of Housing and Household Bills

When considering the option of a care home, one significant financial advantage is the elimination of traditional housing and household expenses. In a care home setting, costs related to rent, council tax, utilities, and food are typically included in the care home fees.

However, when living at home, these costs add up and are an important consideration. Here’s a detailed breakdown per week for both single individuals and couples (source):

  • Rent (including forgone rent): £122 for singles and £170 for couples.
  • Council Tax: £29.79 for singles and £39.71 for couples.
  • Wifi: £10.69 for both singles and couples.
  • Energy: £27.65 for both singles and couples.
  • Water: £5.60 for singles and £7.87 for couples.
  • Home Insurance: £3.13 for both singles and couples.
  • Food: £45 for singles and about £80 for couples.

This leads to a total weekly cost of:

  • £121.87 for singles
  • £169.06 for couples

These costs underline the financial implications of remaining at home compared to the inclusive fees of care homes. For individuals and families weighing these options, it’s crucial to consider both the financial and emotional benefits of each setting to make the most informed decision.

Ways to cut Cost Through Family Support and Home Ownership

Live-in care can become more cost-effective in the long term, particularly for homeowners with strong family support networks. Families can assist with daily routines, occasionally covering full weeks or weekends, which reduces the hours of paid care needed and thereby lowers overall costs. This flexibility is particularly attractive for close-knit families.

Visual Breakdown: Comparative Cost Analysis, weekly, between Live-in and Care homes, Singles Vs Couples

Weekly cost of full time Care: Live-in Vs Care Home

Quality of Care and Personalisation

Care Homes:

While care homes offer a structured environment with scheduled routines, they struggle to provide individual attention, given the higher resident-to-carer ratios.

Live-In Care:

Offers one-to-one care, ensuring highly personalised service and immediate responsiveness to the care recipient’s needs, particularly during overnight hours where immediate assistance can be crucial for health and safety.

Table Summary:

Care OptionCostCare QualityImpact on health
Care Homes~£1,200 flatDepends on staffingRapid decline of mental faculties but good for moving and handling equipment
Live-In Care~£1,000 + billsHighly Personalised and bespoke Great from mental health and stability but can lack in high-end moving and handling equipment

In-Depth Look at Additional Benefits and Hidden Costs

Emotional and Psychological Benefits:

Staying in familiar surroundings can greatly enhance the comfort and psychological well-being of the care recipient, aspects where live-in care excels. It is well documented that object, the arrangement of object, smell, light and just about everything you experience becomes part of how you access memory. Losing all of that can servery impact you love-one’s health.

Hidden Costs:

Care homes might also add fees for additional services like special dietary needs or one-on-one care sessions, which can add up significantly and should be factored into the overall cost comparison. The often only become apparent over time, and before you know it you are paying an additional £500 per week for only marginally more care.

This can also happen with live-in care agencies, which is why it is advisable to go with a private carer directly, or via a trusted platform like PrimeCarers.

Conclusion: Making an Informed Choice

Deciding between live-in care and a care home depends heavily on personal circumstances, including cost, quality of care, and emotional well-being. It is not just about Is live-in care cheaper than a Care Home. Live-in care, particularly for those with strong family support or for couples, often proves more cost-effective and emotionally beneficial, maintaining familiarity and personal attention. Care homes offer structured care with predictable costs, but may lack the personalisation of live-in care and can introduce unexpected fees.

For those exploring live-in care, using a trusted platform like PrimeCarers ensures a direct, transparent connection with carers, helping to avoid hidden costs and enabling more personalised care arrangements. The right choice will balance financial implications with the care recipient’s comfort and health needs, ensuring they receive the best possible support.

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James Bowdler


I founded and manage PrimeCarers, a Platform that connects Private Clients with Private Carers near them.

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