Preparing For Live-In Care


The economics and logic of bringing care into the home makes sense. But that doesn’t always make it easy. That’s especially true when caregiving moves to the full-time, 24-hour per day capacity. But, the more prepared clients and their families are, the easier the transition will be.

There are a multitude of emotions experienced as you and/or a loved one prepare for a caregiver to move in full-time. On one hand, you may experience a sense of relief and greater security.

On the other, it can feel stressful and like an invasion of privacy to have “a perfect stranger” move in. This is compounded if you live in a multi-generational home, and the caregiver will be moving into your space, in order to care for your loved one.

Tips for Preparing For a Live-In Caregiver

The good news is that the “perfect stranger” will soon be a comfortable and caring addition to the space and the daily routine, providing helpful services that ease the demand of day-to-day existence for the client and other caregivers.

The following tips will help you prepare for your caregiver to move in, and the immediate adjustment period after they arrive.

Take baby steps into full-time caregiving if possible

If your loved one has a physical diagnosis, or is in the beginning stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, you may have a little time on your hands before ’round-the-clock caregiving is required.

If this is the case, you can take small steps into caregiving by hiring a caregiver to come in a few times a week, for for a few hours each day. During this time, the caregiver and client can get to know one another, and familiarize themselves with preferences, routines, item placement, grocery lists, meal requests, etc.

Don’t be afraid to communicate clearly and honestly

While mutual respect is expected, there is no need for a client to feel as if s/he needs to put on company manners. In fact, this approach can lead to misunderstandings or unexpressed feelings cause trouble later on.

It’s always best to be 100% clear about your expectations, needs, requests and preferences – as well as your concerns, fears and discomfort around the situation.

Some of these items may be addressed during your consultation with a local, licensed caregiver agency. However, we recommend taking time to create a running list – with no item, thought or concern considered too small or petty.

Then, go over that list with the assigned caregiver(s) so you are all on the same page. If done honestly and thoroughly, this one “simple” step can alleviate a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety.

Clearly outline “house rules” or the expectations of the caregiver. Are there restrictions on television usage, volume levels, personal phone calls, cell phone usage, internet use, lights out, etc? Everyone’s house rules are different – and they vary from culture to culture – so setting clear expectations from the outset minimizes conflicts along the way.

Write a detailed day-to-day (month-to-month) schedule

In the weeks leading up to full-time care, create a written list of your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. Clients are often unaware of how set their routine is until someone moves in and messes it all about!

Create a schedule that replicates the current status-quo so the caregiver can emulate that routine as much as possible. The same is true for weekly, monthly and seasonal interests, activities and events.

Also include things like:

  • Important contact information (family, friends, neighbors, physicians, specialists, pharmacy)
  • Dietary restrictions/preferences
  • Allergies
  • Medication schedule
  • Other important information, facts and interesting/personal tidbits worth noting

Secure sensitive and/or valuable items

Your caregiver should be thoroughly vetted by the agency, including a complete background check. Even so, it’s a good idea to secure any sensitive/private/valuable items in a locked cabinets, safe or with a nearby loved-one for peace of mind.

Create a private, comfortable spot for the caregiver

In a perfect world, caregivers would have their own bedroom, but this isn’t always possible. If not, create a private, comfortable space where the caregiver can get his or her full, 8-hours of sleep each night or day.

This person will be investing considerable time and energy into their work. Just as it isn’t easy to have someone move into your home, it’s not always easy to live away from one’s own home, or to get a good night’s sleep in another home/bed, so take that into consideration when preparing your future caregiver’s space.

This should include things like:

  • A comfortable bed or fold-out couch (please test it first to ensure it’s truly comfortable and to determine if an affordable mattress pad might be in order)
  • A clean set of linens – sheets, pillowcases and pillows, towels, wash cloths, etc.
  • Space for their pictures and some mementos from home
  • Room in the bathroom for toiletries
  • A refrigerator and the ability to cook/prepare food. Review your food policy with them ahead of time so there’s no confusion.
  • Access to laundry facilities

Your consideration to making the caregiver feel welcome and comfortable will be very appreciated.

Consider “little extras” that make for a smoother transition

Once you’ve gone through the major checklist, there are a few “little extras” that can help the transition and facilitate a healthy, day-to-day relationship. Consider things like:

  • Purchasing a baby monitor the caregiver can use outside or in their own space so they can hear your loved one wake-up or call for assistance.
  • Create pantry, cabinet and/or drawer space in the kitchen. These spaces and/or shelves should be labeled – offering the caregiver a place to store their own food, beverage and snack items.
  • Get a notebook the caregiver can use as a daily log, noting anything unusual or special that happened that day. This helps to keep all caregivers in-tune with the client as needs and preferences change. These daily logs are especially helpful in multi-generational households where there is a regular flow of family member and professional caregivers.

Are you hiring a freelance caregiver, rather than an agency caregiver?

If so, we highly suggest you meet with a tax professional ahead of time. There are very specific legal and tax obligations that must be met by you – the employer – including wage limits, hourly work limits, paid time off, insurance provisions, tax forms, etc., that must be completed ahead of time. Then, create a payment schedule and payment method you all agree on.

Make sure to run a complete criminal background check (they can be done online but private investigators typically provide a more thorough check/analyses for you) as well as a DMV records check. Take time to verify the caregiver’s references and vet them thoroughly to verify they’re genuine.

Transitioning Into Full-Time Care?

Please contact Georgetown Home Care to learn more about the live-in caregiver process.
Our agency works with the region’s most compassionate and experienced caregivers, and we take care of all the logistics so you don’t have to.

Our caregivers are screened regularly and all of their tax and payment requirements are handled in-house, by our accounting staff. It’s live-in caregiving made simple and stress-free. Schedule your free, in-home assessment to get started.