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What’s the difference between residential care and home care?

Carer offering a cup of tea to a client

When people think of working in adult social care many automatically think of a residential care home. This is not the only option; you could also support someone in their own home.

Find out what the difference is and which care setting could be right for you…

Residential care

Residential care refers to long-term care given to adults who stay in a residential setting rather than their own home.

Care homes provide accommodation and personal care for people who need extra support in their daily lives. Personal care might include help with eating, washing, dressing, going to the toilet or taking medication. Some care homes also offer social activities such as day trips or outings.

Home care

Home care is looking after a person in their own home. Home care is flexible and can be anything from a couple of visits a week, right through to 24/7 live in care.

Anyone at any stage of life could need care and support while living at home in their community. This includes the elderly, people with learning disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory impairment or physical disabilities.

Tasks for a home care worker include supporting people with social and physical activities, personal care, and assisting people with eating and drinking.

For more in-depth detail about social care job roles and responsibilities visit

In some jobs, you’ll need to pass a DBS check or watch this video guide.