Lockdown Loneliness – is there another solution?

As the United Kingdom is thrown into its third lockdown, many are experiencing the side effects of isolation. Under the current lockdown you are not allowed to mix with people outside your household or support bubble, and can only exercise once a day outdoors. All social aspects of life have been put on hold and we entered 2021 with the same ongoing pandemic concerns that we left 2020 with.

However no one has been affected by the restrictions we have seen over the last year quite like care home residents. In the third lockdown, it is reported that 400,000 care home residents will have gone a year without seeing their loved ones or having social contact with the outside world.

It is outlined by the Government that visits to care homes can still take place but these must be through screens, pods and windows. As we have seen in the media, many care homes are trying their best to facilitate these situations, however it is simply not possible to provide this service to all 400,000 care home residents.

The Care Home Setting

It is a sombre affair when families have not seen their elderly loved ones for a whole year and it is feared that many residents with dementia may forget who their family members are and will fail to recognise them when the restrictions are lifted.

This will no doubt have an impact on the families mental health, having lost that family bond, but more worrying is the impact on care home residents’ mental health. Care home staff are undoubtedly doing all they can to keep spirits high among their residents, but losing contact with the outside world is damaging for mental health and wellbeing. The care home setting is already prone to residents becoming institutionalised, through repetitive routines and lack of individual choice around daily tasks like eating and bedtime. Lockdown will look to only heighten this circumstantial effect of the care home setting.

This devastating blow to care home residents comes after the shocking impact COVID-19 has already had within the industry. With a recent survey reporting that by October 2020, 29.3% of care home deaths had been a result of COVID-19. The industry has been brought to its knees by the virus, with the traditional care home setting; with carers looking after multiple residents and social distancing being unmanageable; becoming a haven for the virus to spread.

So is there an alternative response to care that can help alleviate loneliness and keep our elderly loved ones safer during the pandemic? Recent statistics argue there is with live-in care.

Live-in Care – the alternative option

A survey conducted by the Live-in Care Hub unveiled the stark contrast between COVID-19 related deaths in a live-in care setting compared to those in residential care. The Live-in Care Hub recently surveyed live-in care organisations that collectively care for 2,926 elderly people. It was reported that during the first wave of COVID-19, only 10 elderly people tested positive and 10 live-in carers tested positive. These cases were also not directly related. Of these only 5 elderly people died from COVID-19 or a related illness. This results in only 0.17% of those receiving live-in care have died of the virus, compared to a startling 29.3% within a care home setting, as previously mentioned.

Couple this with the fact that if given the choice 97% of people would prefer to stay at home, rather than go into a care setting, it really does strengthen the argument that live-in care is the better option.

Live-in care at a time of lockdown and isolation can provide an elderly loved one with the companionship their family would have usually provided.

According to Age UK, there are 1.4 million chronically lonely older people in England and many more across the rest of the UK, making loneliness a major issue widely recognised in society today. This figure does not take into account the 400,000 care home residents who are now facing a year without family contact. Loneliness can have a dramatic and profound impact on our overall health, wellbeing and quality of life in older age, so it is important to ensure loved ones are safe and happy.

Companionship with a professional live-in carer can help relieve loneliness and give an elderly person not only friendship but also support with living independently. Having consistent one on one contact provides a feeling of comfort and belonging. Professional live-in carers are matched not only on their skill base but also personality and interests, providing a common ground to enjoy activities together. A live-in carer is not a substitute for a loved family member, but during these unprecedented times is an option to provide a safe, secure and familiar home environment for an elderly person.


Whilst care homes play an important role within the care industry and provide many residents with a supportive environment, whilst dealing with their health needs, the current situation has highlighted the unfortunate flaws within the residential setting when a pandemic hits.

Live-in care is not the solution for everyone and many residents find the care home setting an enjoyable one. But for those who are concerned about loneliness and isolation in the current lockdown, plus the rise of infections with the new strain of the virus, this alternative method of care could be right for your family.

So what is live-in care?

Live-in care is when a professional carer comes and lives with you in your home to provide you with around the clock care, companionship and support so you can live a better quality of life, in the comfort and familiarity of your own home.

When families are faced with the realisation that their loved one or family member needs care and support, many feel the only option is to move into a care or nursing home. Live-in care is fast becoming the preferred choice for those who wish to continue to live in the comfort and familiarity of their own home, whilst receiving the care and support they need to live a fulfilled life.

If you would like to find out more about the benefits of live-in care please contact our friendly Client Services team on 0808 2782 690

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