Whether you’re looking for care for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to weigh up the potential options before making a decision.       

The two choices most people get stuck between are care homes and live in care. 

While they’re similar in some ways, they have major differences that meet the unique needs of individuals. 

Here are the key similarities and differences between live in care and care homes. 


One of the main factors that people consider when looking into care providers is the cost. For most agencies, it reflects the level of care provided, as well as the experience of the care team. 

In the UK, the average cost of a care home is around £800 per week, while live in care starts at a similar price but depends on the complexity of the care needs and how many people are being cared for (most live in care agencies offer packages for couples). 

However, with live in care, you’re guaranteed tailored assistance, but with a care home, the carers have to look after all residents, meaning you won’t have care on hand whenever you need it.        

Social life 

In a care home, activities and day trips are organised regularly to keep the residents occupied and to boost their spirits. From bingo to meals out, the social aspect of a care home is what many residents appreciate, especially if they would be by themselves otherwise. 

However, those with reduced mobility or learning difficulties may not be able to keep up, meaning they feel discluded from the atmosphere that a care home provides.       

With live in care, you don’t just get a carer, you get a companion that can accompany you to meet-ups with friends and family as well as clubs you regularly attend. This way, you can maintain your routine and dictate how you’d like to spend each day – perfect for those who don’t like being in larger groups.  

Quality of care 

The level of care needed is unique to each individual and their needs. For example, if someone has severe dementia, they will need more support than others. 

Is a care home the best place for this?  

As carers will have to spread their time equally between residents, this dedicated support isn’t guaranteed. 

However, with live in care, those receiving care will have access to 24/7 care based on an individual plan that takes every need into consideration, including their preferred meal times, when they need to take their medication and when they need extra support and assistance. 

Other factors to consider 

If you were to move into a care home, you’d be away from the home comforts you’re used to. Whether it’s moving away from your pet, your book collection or your bathtub, it can be hard adjusting to a new environment and lifestyle, not forgetting moving away from friends and family. 

Those with mental conditions and learning difficulties often find change difficult, which is why a live in carer is usually the most appropriate option when it comes to care providers. You can stay in your own home and still receive high levels of care. 

If your care needs change during your time with a live in carer, so can your care plan. The job of a live in carer is to provide care to the standard expected by the client, so will happily tailor their approach to the needs present at that time.