Differences Between Live-in Care vs 24-Hour Care

When finding a place for a senior to live while receiving around-the-clock care, families need to review various options to pick the right one. Live-in care vs 24-hour care are the two most common choices available, each offering unique features and benefits.

Seniors are most comfortable in familiar surroundings, such as their homes. But when choosing between live-in care and 24-hour care, the two terms sound very similar, yet there are a few distinguishing features about them. Whichever option you go with, it’s far much better than assisted living because it gives the client 24/7 caregiver attention, right from the comfort of their home.

What is Live-in Care?

Under live-in care, you get 24-hour care for elderly at home, offered by two caregivers staying with the care recipient. The federal U.S. Department of Labor governs the number of hours and shifts for each caregiver. These requirements also vary from one state to another, but there’s a general structure on how to run a live-in care.

The first caregiver is booked for up to five days a week, depending on the state. For the remaining days of the week, you book a different caregiver. During a typical 24-hour care period, a caregiver gets a break lasting for up to 4 hours during the daytime. However, you also get to decide if you want coverage during those 4 hours.

The caregiver is not a resident, but they must have private sleeping quarters within the client’s home. If they’re interrupted during sleep, they must receive compensation for the hours they’re awake caring for the client. A caregiver has to get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleeping breaks.

When it comes to 24-hour live-in caregiver costs, most caregiving agencies charge a flat per-day rate. However, if you need assistance during the 4-hour caregiver break, the billing changes to an hourly rate.

These are just, but, the essential guidelines offered by the federal Department of Labor. States may also include their own guidelines or slight variations to the federal laws.

What is 24-hour Care?

What is 24-hour Care?

If you’re not sure that you can afford the 24/7 live-in caregiver pay or if your state doesn’t permit live-in care, then your best option is 24-hour care. Also, 24-hour care is the right choice if the care recipient needs attention at any time. Since it’s impossible to anticipate when they’ll need the care, the caregiver has to be available every hour. This care option is ideal for people with limited capacity to move and who need help in the bathroom, preparing meals, and taking medication, among other activities of daily living (ADL).

In 24-hour care, two caregivers work the 24-hour shift, each covering a 12-hour shift. In some states, it can be three caregivers, each working for 8 hours. A caregiver can only work a maximum of four shifts a week, each lasting at most 12 hours. This ensures that the care recipient receives 24-hour quality care from caregivers with no fatigue or stress.

Live-In Care vs. 24-Hour Care: How Are They Similar?

While doing a live-in care vs. 24-hour care comparison, you’ll realize that the primary advantage common between them is non-stop supervision and care. In each care option, the caregiver is with the care recipient at home to provide care whenever they need it. This offers a sense of safety and well-being for both the family and the care recipient.

If a client suffers from dementia, they need uninterrupted care around the clock. The same goes for care recipients who suffered a stroke or are recovering following surgery.

Live-In Care vs. 24-Hour Care: The Differences

Even though 24-hour care and live-in care offer nonstop caregiving attention, they also have several differences. Understanding these differences can help you a great deal in choosing the option that best suits your circumstances and that of your loved one. Let’s review how these two care options are different:



Live-in care: There’s only a single caregiver offering care per shift. The caregiver works for a maximum of five days a week, while another caregiver takes over the shift for the remaining days.

24-hour care: During a 24-hour care period, there are two or three shifts, each covered by a different caregiver. Each caregiver can work for 8 hours, with a maximum of 12 hours per shift.


Live-in care: A caregiver gets a 4-hour break during the day and an 8-hour sleep break within a 24-hour shift. During the break, family members can decide to fill in the gap with extra coverage.

24-hour care: Since caregivers work 8-hour shifts, the breaks can last up to 30 minutes. Caregivers are available throughout their shifts to offer optimum care and support.

Night Care

Live-in care: Night attendance takes a relaxed stance as the caregiver needs to take an 8-hour sleep break. If they’re interrupted during sleep, the family pays for the number of hours that care is provided.

24-hour care: The care recipient receives nonstop care even during the night. The caregiver stays awake during their 8-hour night shift to provide optimal care. Since this option has two to three shifts, each caregiver has ample time to rest before their turn to care for the client.

Care Cost

Live-in care: It’s the most cost-efficient option for offering around-the-clock attention. The 24-hour live-in caregiver cost varies with state, but on average, it can be between $160 and $250. When choosing a care option, calculate the 24/7 in-home care cost per month or even for three months to help you plan ahead.

24-hour care: Considering that there are up to three caregiver shifts to provide nonstop care, this option is pricier. Most caregiving agencies charge hourly rates varying between $10 and $25. Again, this rate varies with your location and can be more expensive if you’re in an urban locale.

Caregiver Support

Live-in care: Families must prepare a private sleeping chamber for live-in caregivers. The sleeping area should be within the same home as the care recipient.

Caregiver Support

24-hour care: There are no sleeping quarters for caregivers under the 24-hour care option since they do not have sleeping breaks. The shifts last 8 hours, or a maximum of 12 hours, each under different caregivers.

Choosing the Right Care Option For a Loved One

Before settling for a care option, you need to do a live-in care vs. 24-hour care comparison. Your choice should be guided by your financial situation and the individual needs of your loved one in need of caregiving. Additionally, consider the following factors to help you choose the right option:

Level of attention required

What’s the level of attention required by the care recipient? Those living with Alzheimer’s Disease, who just got operated on, or who have complex conditions need nonstop attention. Therefore, they’ll benefit the most from a 24-hour care option.


Evaluate both care options and see how they can fit your budget. Request quotes from “24-hour in-home care near me” and do comparisons to determine the one you can afford. Also, think about exploring other assistance programs, such as government aid programs and long-term care insurance. Determine if your loved one is eligible and can benefit from 24-hour home health care Medicaid support.

Caregiver Compatibility and Training

It’s important that you factor in the personality and preferences of the care recipient and their compatibility with a caregiver. Also, don’t forget to consider the caregiver’s training and experience, which are crucial in determining the quality of care they will provide.

Family members availability

Factor in the availability of the family members and their ability to offer assistance when caregivers are on break. If necessary, equip your family members with basic family caregiver training to ensure they’re ready to assist whenever necessary. This can complement the level of care offered by professional caregivers and make the care recipient more comfortable.


When doing a live-in care vs. 24-hour care comparison, both options come with different advantages that can best suit a person in need of round-the-clock care at home. After knowing the differences and similarities between these two care options, evaluate the preferences and needs of your loved one. This prepares you to make informed decisions on the most suitable care option. If your family members are going to supplement the care provided by professional caregivers, consider taking basic family caregiver training at Caregiver Courses.


What is the difference between live-in care and 24-hour care

Under live-in care, the caregiver stays with the care recipient in the same home, assisting for five days a week. The caregiver is provided with a place to sleep and paid a flat rate. Another caregiver serves the remaining days of the week.

With 24-hour care, at least three caregivers work 8-hour shifts each. They are not provided with a sleeping place and are paid an hourly rate.

What are the disadvantages of 24-hour care?

While 24-hour care offers nonstop care, it tends to be more expensive than live-in care. 24-hour care is charged at an hourly rate, while live-in care is charged at a flat rate. Also, the client may prefer only a particular caregiver, while the 24-hour care option offers up to three different caregivers in a day. This makes it challenging for the client to bond and build trust with caregivers, unlike in live-in care.

What’s the main disadvantage of live-in care?

Live-in care may be disadvantageous in that families may need to make costly modifications to match the care recipient’s needs. Also, they must provide extra facilities and a sleeping area for the caregiver. All these may add extra financial burden to the person who pays for 24-hour nursing care.

What important aspects should I consider when choosing an in-home care plan?

When doing a live-in care vs. 24-hour care evaluation, consider the needs and preferences of the care recipient. Also, assess the costs of each and how they can fit your budget and financial capabilities. Consider the features provided by each plan and how they best suit the client’s needs.

Can family members complement caregivers’ support?

Yes, your family members may chip in to help, especially during caregiver breaks in the live-in care option. This can help the care recipient feel more comfortable in the presence of a loved one. Consider their availability and capacity to offer care. If necessary, ensure they receive family caregiver training before taking on these responsibilities.

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