What is the Difference Between Live-in Care and 24 Hour Care?

If around-the-clock care is needed, you have the option of 24 hour care and live-in care to ensure a caregiver will be there throughout the day and night. Both services are great alternatives to assisted living as they allow clients to receive 24/7 care while allowing them to stay in the comfort of their home. But how do you know which one to choose? We discuss the differences between the two services to give you more insight into which option is better for you or your loved one.

Although live-in care and 24 hour care may differ slightly by location, below is a general summary including the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Live-In Care24 Hour Care
Number of caregivers per day1 caregiverMinimum 2 caregivers*
Hours per day a caregiver works24 hours8 or 12 hours per caregiver*
Sleeping break8 hoursOptional — decided by you
CostFlat rate per day

4 hour break coverage
(Billed hourly)

Hourly rate per day

12 hour overnight
(Billed hourly if caregiver remains awake; flat rate if caregiver can sleep)

*May vary depending on location.

Live-in Care

With live-in care, one caregiver is booked daily for a 24 hour period. One caregiver can be booked for a maximum of four to five days per week depending on the location. For the other days, a different caregiver will be booked. In the 24 hour period, a 4 hour break is given to the daytime caregiver. You can decide if you want coverage for these 4 hours or not. For a live-in shift, the caregiver is allowed an 8 hour sleeping break and a sleeping bed must be provided for this caregiver. Live-in care is billed at a flat rate per day and if the 4 hour break coverage is requested then the break is billed at an hourly rate.


The biggest advantage of having live-in care is that the number of caregivers is significantly reduced with ideally two scheduled caregivers for the whole week. This provides consistency in care and gives clients a chance to build relationships with their caregivers.


The con to having live-in care is that there is a 4 hour break given to the daytime caregiver with optional coverage. However, if you choose not to have coverage, the daytime caregiver is permitted to leave for 4 hours which either leaves the client alone or a family member will need to cover. If you choose to have the coverage, then the 4 hour break will be an additional hourly cost to the flat live-in rate. At night, the caregiver is given a mandatory sleeping break so the client will not have direct supervision.

 24 Hour Care

NND_Bodily Injury_003With 24 hour care, two caregivers are booked daily and work 12 hours each. Sometimes 3 x 8 hour visits are preferred in order to ensure caregivers are at their maximum level of alertness. One caregiver can work a maximum of 4 x 12 hour visits per week. For the other visits, different caregivers will be booked to cover. There is no sleeping break given to a caregiver during a 12 hour visit. However, you can allow the overnight caregiver to sleep if you choose to. 24 hour care is billed at an hourly rate. The overnight visit is billed at a flat rate if it is a sleeping visit and hourly rate if it is a non-sleeping visit.


The benefit of having 24 hour care is that a caregiver will be with a client at all times and will be awake even throughout the night to ensure supervision of the client. Some people prefer this option as they believe caregivers are more refreshed and alert since there is at least one caregiver rotation in a 24 hour period.


The con with this option is that the cost is higher due to it being billed at an hourly rate. Live-in care roughly works out to be half the cost of 24 hour care so 24 hour care is the more expensive alternative of the two. Also, this option has less consistency in caregivers so this might not be a good option for a client who needs familiarity.

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lauren nipp


Lauren Nipp

Lauren is Nurse Next Door's Social Community Specialist where she dedicates her time making topics surrounding home care easily accessible for people. In addition to content management, she manages Nurse Next Door's social media presence on various platforms. Her goal is to educate people about Happier Aging and the options that are available to elders.

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  1. M.

    Hello, I do have a question regarding Live-in Care. I work for a lady 3 days a week as a Live-in Caregiver (I am a BC certified Care Aide). Are those 4 hours break and the 8h hours of uninterrupted sleep only for caregivers who work under an agency or is my employer actually bound by law to give them. Because right now I have neither. Well, during the week a companion comes for approx 2 h but I still can’t leave the apt in case she, i.e., needs to go to the washroom (she is quadriplegic). Hope someone can answer my question. Regards, M.

  2. Eleanor Cook

    Hello. How much is a caregiver per day, if he/she is only needed for most of the week day and 24 hours for Saturdays and Sundays? Are there caregivers located in Baltimore City?

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Eleanor,
      The price varies by area so the best thing would be to call 1.866.318.7932 to get more information. Unfortunately, we don’t have a location in Baltimore City at this time.

  3. Lorie

    I’ve recently been offered 3 – 24 hour shifts (live-in) although have not been offered the 4 hour break at all? what’s my options?

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Lorie,
      For some clients, they’ll pay you more if you cover the 4 hour break. It might be best to look at your provincial Employment Standards depending on where you live. Hope this helps!

  4. L.H

    I’ve been working for an agency since November. I’ve been doing a 3 day live in shift every week at $135.00 per day in the city of Palos Verdes. Is that legal?

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi L.H,
      It’s best to check with your state employment standards as it can vary by location and type of situation. Thanks!

  5. Acie

    Are these employees trained CNAs and are they background checked for any and all offensives even misdemeanors? I’ve seen so many cases of abuse and theft of elderly patients.

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Acie,
      Yes, all of our employees are trained CNA’s that go through extensive background checks. All of our caregivers and nurses are bonded and insured. Since we are an agency, we perform this on all of our caregivers before they are hired. If you hire privately, you need to ensure this is done.

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Edna,
      Thanks for contacting us. We’ll have someone contact you shortly with more details. Have a great day!

  6. christine

    If you pay a flat rate, do you also have to add in payroll taxes or is it appropriate to let the employee do that. what is legal?

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Christine,
      The best thing to do would be to contact your local Employment Standards office for information. Hope this helps!

  7. Tara Wallden

    My Grandmother in Tillsonburg Ontario Canada is presently in the hospital. She is 96 and has had a heart attack. She was living in her home with some care given to her by visiting caregivers and family members coming by. She is very frail and needs 24 hour care. She is in hospital and we are looking into nursing homes in London Ontario close to her youngest daughter. We wanted to explore the option of having her stay in her home with the proper care and attention. Please contact me asap so that I can advise/help them with this difficult turning point . Do you have this service in this area? What is the availability? Much appreciated

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Tara,
      Thank you for contacting us. One of our Specialists will be happy to contact you with more information. Have a great day!

  8. Michelle

    I have a question living in Saskatchewan I was hired as a live in caregiver 24/7 I have a room that has been provided now my question is are they required to give you time and days off and if so how much ? And also are they allowed to require that you share that living space. Say if I want to take an evening or a night off I would have to make other sleeping arrangements or sleep in the same room as relief staff where they are still on call by clients so technically not time off. Where does a person go to find rules and regulations and rights for a live in caregiver if any. Thank you

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Michelle,
      The best thing to do would be to contact your local Employment Standards office for information to clarify.

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Angela,
      Our live-in rates can vary by area. We’ll have someone contact you shortly to give you more details. Have a great day!

  9. Alescia Hartfield

    I am Alescia Hartfield the 24-hour living care I know it is for me Nico’s 41 55 years old I live alone and I’m mostly by myself all the time and I like to stay busy I love working with elderly people I am in good health thanks to God very passionate with elderly people I have experience working with them also I have experience working with my own parents they need us when they get in a situation to where they can’t help themselves and that’s where I sit in to give them a helping hand also they need to know there’s people out deer who still cares and I’m one of them who will love 2 do this kind of work because I care

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Gina,
      Thanks for contacting us. We’ll have someone contact you shortly with more information. Have a great day!

  10. Drew Warner

    Having surgery April 20th and would need someone April 20th April 21st April 22nd
    April 23rd & April 24th
    Please contact me at

    Thank you

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Drew,
      Thanks for contacting us! We’ll have someone contact you shortly with more information. Have a great day!

  11. Filomena Rodrigues

    I’m carer in a nursing home. Full 8time.how many days in a row I can work ?? I’m asking because sometimes I work 8 or 10 days in a row and I’m exhausted ohh my shift is 7 hours . Thank you

    • Nurse Next Door

      Hi Filomena,
      It’s best to check labor laws for your province or state depending on where you live. You’ll be able to find comprehensive details and information there regarding labor rules.

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