The Cost of Live-in Care: A Comprehensive Guide for 2024

James Bowdler

25 May, 2023

2 min read

The cost of live-in care is about £145 per day (£1,015 per week), with a reasonable range from £130 to £170 per day (£910 to £1,190 per week). This can vary significantly depending on the need, quantity of care and where you get your carers from. Care for low-need patients that can do most things for themselves but do need some help, support and companionship can cost from £130 to £150 per day (£910pw – £1,050pw), whilst patients with challenging behaviors or complex medical needs can get cost from £150 to £250 per day (£1,150pw – £1750pw).

Costs can also depend on where you find the carers. Carers from an agency cost, on average, £200 per day (£1,400pw), totally independent carers can cost as little as £135 per day (£945pw), whilst finding vetted, insured and supported carer from a platform costs closer to £145 per day (£1,015pw).

What is Live-In Care? The Essential Guide For 2024
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Cost of Care Guide
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The Cost of Live-In Care

Three things impact the cost of live-in care: Where you source the carers, the complexity of the care required, and how many days and weeks you need. Click here to use our cost of care calculator for details.

1. How the Cost of Live-in Care Is Impacted by Where You Source Carers

There are three common ways to find live-in care. Each offers different benefits and drawbacks:

Care Agencies

Care agencies are often seen as a convenient choice due to their ability to provide carers on demand, and their fees range from £160 to £250 per day, with an average of approximately £180 per day. Alternatively, this is £1,120 per week to £1,750 per week, with an average of £1,260 per week.

Benefits: Agencies handle all administrative tasks, including background checks, scheduling, and finding potential replacements if the carer falls sick or is on a break.

Drawbacks: You have very little choice over which carer you get, they may then be changed at any time without your consent, and you must involve the office when making changes to how care is delivered.

Independent Carers

Opting for independent carers can lower the cost significantly, from £120 to £200 per day with an average of approximately £135 per day or £945 per week.

Benefits: You work directly with a carer, so you can quickly shape the care to your needs. You can also have some degree of choice over who you deliver the care to, and no one can take them away from you.

Drawbacks: It is difficult to know if the carer is good at their job, especially if you’re not experienced with carers. Safety can also be an issue because they haven’t been background ID checked. If anything goes wrong, it could be hard to track them down. In addition, there’s no promise they’re insured. Drawing up a proper contract can be tricky, and you might be responsible for them as an employee. You must also manage them, which can be hard as a first- or second-time client. If problems arise, you might struggle to find a replacement.


Platforms like PrimeCarers try to strike a balance, offering the benefits of both options whilst eliminating as many drawbacks as possible. They cost from £130 to £200 per day, with an average of £145 per day. Alternatively, this is £910 per week to £1,750 per week, with an average of £1,015 per week. Click here to see a live report on our platform’s rates.

Benefits: Platforms like PrimeCarers offer a host of advantages. They present a wide selection of thoroughly checked and professional carers, guaranteeing safety and reliability. Platforms give you the freedom and control to choose a carer that suits your needs. Furthermore, they handle all administrative aspects, including payments, invoices, contracts, and insurance. In case of any issues, the platform provides support and assists in finding alternative carers.

Drawbacks: While platforms are incredibly beneficial, they do require some effort on your part. You need to undertake some responsibilities to engage with the platform, choose a carer, book visits, and periodically check the carer’s feedback. Also, there’s no guarantee that a replacement carer will always be available, especially for last-minute appointments, unless you opt for enhanced services like the “managed service” PrimeCarers offers. It’s also important to remember that urgent appointments may not offer many carer options.

2. How the Level of Need Affects the Cost of Live-in Care

The cost of live-in care can be significantly influenced by the complexity of care required. Different aspects contribute to this complexity:

Emotional Labour

Taking care of individuals with mental health conditions, degenerative diseases, or those requiring end-of-life care often necessitates more emotional labour. These situations demand more patience, empathy, and psychological resilience, making the carer’s job more challenging and, thus, more expensive.

Physical Labour

The level of physical work required is also crucial in determining care costs. Those needing assistance with most or all daily activities usually require a more intensive care regimen. Variables like the client’s height and weight can also intensify the physical demand on the carer, influencing the overall cost.


The geographical location can affect care costs too. Urban carers often charge more than those in suburban and rural areas due to higher living expenses. However, carers in rural or remote locations might also require a higher fee due to increased transportation costs and limited availability of carers.

Experience and Specialisation

Carers with advanced qualifications and specialised training, such as nursing or particular care training, often charge a higher rate. Their knowledge and experience allow them to provide superior care, particularly for complex cases that require specific skills or techniques.

Type of Care

Specialised care requirements, like advanced dementia care or the operation of complex medical equipment, also influence the cost. Such care types demand a particular skill set and often a higher level of responsibility from the carer, leading to increased costs.

3. How the Quantity of Care Affects the Cost of Live-in Care

The cost of live-in care, usually structured on a daily rate, is typically accumulated and settled weekly or monthly. The commitment to a carer seven days a week, throughout every week, can indeed accumulate a substantial expense. However, there are ways to mitigate these costs if you have the capacity and flexibility. For example, providing care for yourself one or two days each week, or even a week or a few days sporadically, can significantly reduce expenses.

Let’s consider the scenario of a daily carer rate set at £140. If you opt to provide care for one day a week, you could save £560 monthly, which equates to a 14.3% reduction in your total monthly cost (based on a 30-day month). If you decide to cover a full week’s worth of care every month, the savings rise to £980 monthly, amounting to an impressive 23.3% decrease in your monthly expenditure.

It is essential to balance any potential cost savings with the level and consistency of care required, ensuring that any financial decisions are compatible with the well-being of the person needing care.

Understanding the Additional Costs of Live-In Care

Alongside the base cost of hiring a live-in carer, you must also account for various additional costs that might arise in different situations. Here are some extra expenses you may encounter:


A live-in carer will likely share meals with your loved one. Depending on dietary preferences, specific nutritional needs, or any special diet plan, the cost of groceries may increase. You should budget an additional £5-£10 per day to cover the carer’s food costs.

Travel and Transport

If your live-in carer is commuting from a considerable distance, there may be travel expenses to consider. Typically, if the carer’s commute is about an hour or less in their own car, they won’t usually charge extra. However, they are likely to charge for travel if they’re using public transport or are commuting from a further distance. Mileage is generally charged at the rate of 45p per mile, or as per the HMRC mileage guidance at the time of service.

On-the-Job Transport

In many cases, a carer may need to drive the patient to appointments, social events, or for general errands. This scenario implies additional costs such as fuel, vehicle maintenance, and parking fees. Also, if the carer uses their own vehicle for these tasks, business-level insurance will be required to cover any potential liabilities. Be sure to discuss these potential costs upfront and consider them in your overall budget.

Event Attendance

There may be occasions where your loved one wants or needs to attend specific events – family gatherings, weddings, or social activities, for example. If your live-in carer accompanies them for safety and assistance, this could incur additional costs. These might include tickets for the event, travel expenses, or even a higher rate of pay for the carer’s extended hours or responsibilities. It’s best to discuss and agree on these costs with your carer in advance.

These additional costs can add up, so it’s crucial to factor them into your overall budget for live-in care. By considering these elements, you can ensure a smooth, transparent relationship with your carer and avoid any surprise expenses down the line.

You can manage these expenses in a number of ways, from a petty cash jar to a carers carer od other bank card. Here is some in-depth guidance on managing expenses.

What Do Live-In Carers Do?

As the name implies, live-in carers live with the person needing care, providing assistance, within reason, 24 hours a day. They carry out a range of tasks that support the independence and well-being of their care recipient.

  1. Personal Care: This may include assisting with bathing, dressing, toileting and mobility.
  2. Healthcare Assistance: Carers might be responsible for managing medications, assisting with exercises, and liaising with healthcare professionals.
  3. Domestic Tasks: This includes cleaning, cooking, and laundry.
  4. Companionship: Live-in carers also provide emotional support, company and encouragement in engaging activities.

Whilst live-in carers provide a 24/7 service, they also need rest and have some private time. It is not always necessary for them to be able to step away for an hour or two a day, however it is normal. In most cases, they function as sleeping night carers, meaning they’re available for emergencies but will need uninterrupted sleep. If frequent nighttime support is required, additional night care might be necessary.

To learn more about the duties of a live-in carer, check out this blog post.

As we seek the best care solutions for our loved ones, understanding the cost of live-in care is critical. Live-in carers provide round-the-clock assistance and companionship, usually working in stretches of one to twelve weeks at a time, followed by one to four weeks off. Some live and work with their clients permanently, where the client’s level of need accommodates such an arrangement.

How to get the cost of live-in care down

It is painful watching your loved one’s savings dwindle, and stressful to think of them in a government home, over which they will have no choice and may not be close by to see out their final years. You want their savings to last as long as possible so that they can maintain the best standard of life right to the end. In a nutshell, the best ways to reduce the cost of live-in care are to do some of it yourself, assure the carer of job security, set clear, reasonable, and mutually agreed-upon responsibilities for the carer, be kind and supportive to your carer, and create a comfortable physical environment for them.

Do some of it yourself:

The best way to reduce the cost of live-in care is to do some of it yourself. Engaging in care duties can significantly decrease the hours for which professional assistance is required, thereby reducing overall costs. You can do this in two ways:

  • Break Cover: Carers need time away from the patient, ideally on a daily basis, to rest, recover, and just be themselves. Many believe that it is their legal right to have a 2-hour uninterrupted break every day, and whilst this is not true, you should aim to provide about 14 hours of cover across the week with as much regularity as possible. This will keep your carer happy, and their prices down.
  • Week(s) Off Cover: Carers need a week or two off every 2 to 12 weeks, depending on their stamina and the difficulty of the patient’s situation. You or other family members might consider covering their time off, giving you the dual benefit of understanding what the job entails and cutting costs by as much as a third.

Assure the carer of job security:

Providing the carer with a secure contract can lead to negotiated rates that benefit both parties. Job security often translates into lower costs and a more dedicated service, as carers feel more valued and committed. Our contracts are 7 days as standard, however the most succesful relationships have agreed notice periods of closer to a month. This help you as it prevents the care from leaving you without a carer and it gives them job secrrity

Be kind and supportive to your carer:

A positive emotional working environment increases job satisfaction, which can make carers more willing to negotiate flexible terms. Kindness and support can also lead to longer tenures, reducing the need for frequent hiring, which is often costly.

The only real way to achieve this is to genuinely understand where they are coming from and know what it is to be in their shoes. Learn what their triggers are: are they financial (making payment regularity critical), or have they had trauma (making a violent outburst have an outsized impact on the carer), or is connection important to them (making a cup of tea and a chat hugely valuable).

You also want to ensure that the carer does not get cooped up too much. They are there to serve your loved one, but they are human too, so encourage them to engage in social activities. Point out societies or events locally, as they will often not be from nearby, and suggest places that are nice to visit—things you like to do yourself and that your loved one enjoys too.

Create a comfortable physical environment

Ensure that they have good access to all their core amenities. This is as simple as making sure the Wi-Fi is good, sheets are comfortable, and food is reasonable. The house and bathroom should at least start clean upon their arrival to set a standard. Ensure the heating is to their liking or at least controllable in their room and perhaps also the kitchen, which they will use frequently as it will become more their domain.

You should also make sure that family members, friends, and neighbours are informed about them and are comfortable. It’s important to maintain a positive environment and address any concerns diplomatically to foster good relationships and prevent misunderstandings that could unsettle the carer, or make them feel unsafe.

Choosing the Right Live-In Care

Selecting the best live-in care for your loved ones involves balancing cost, safety, and the specific needs of your loved one. Here are some resources to guide your decision-making process:

Final Thoughts

Understanding the cost and role of a live-in carer is crucial to make the best decision for your loved ones. While it’s a significant commitment, proper live-in care can provide peace of mind and improve the quality of care.

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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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