As you age, you can start to have difficulties taking care of your personal needs independently. In this case, you can opt to hire a professional to assist you with dressing, hygiene, getting out of bed, using the bathroom, and other daily activities.

Caretakers and caregivers are part of the helping professionals. It’s common to use the two terms interchangeably. However, the two perform different tasks. Read on to find out the differences.

Caregiver Vs. Caretaker – What’s the Difference


Caregivers help you if you’re a child, sick, elderly, or disabled. They offer physical and emotional assistance so that you can lead a seamless life.

There are different categories of caregivers that render specialized services. Most of them deliver such services at a fee, while some may assist you freely. Nonetheless, you should not contradict their roles with caretakers as there is a notable difference between them.


These are people who enhance the security and maintenance of your property, buildings, and other inanimate objects. Caretakers perform roles such as cleaning, repairs and maintenance, and protection of property.

To help you differentiate more about caregivers and caretakers, let’s look at different types of caregivers.

grandmother and granddaughter hugging

Types of Caregivers

There are numerous roles that elderly caregivers can play in your life. They cover family matters, age, and even medical concerns, to name a few. The different types of caregivers include:

Family Caregivers

These are relatives, such as CDPAP caregivers, who offer emotional, financial, health, social, and other crucial services for a loved one at home. You may receive such services if you are ill or disabled on a daily or periodic sequence.

Family caregivers take care of their loved ones without pay. They have no formal training to conduct such activities. They want to see their loved ones living a better life. Let’s look at caregivers who offer professional assistance.

Professional Caregivers

Professional caregivers offer care to you at home or in a facility. They may provide medical or non-medical care, and their primary role is to help you reestablish and live independently. Professional caregivers are based in an agency and get hired by care recipients.

Home professional caregivers can help you tackle challenges that accompany senility. They have different responsibilities that align with the current care settings. Such tasks include delivering professional services in a private home, nursing facility, or assisted living. These may consist of grooming and bathing.

Professional caregivers have to observe high professional parameters as their behavior and boundaries have notable effects on clients.

Independent Caregivers

This category shares the same concept with the professional caregiver. Although it differs in that independent caregivers have no affiliation with any agency. They interact directly with the family in need, and there is no connection between the care recipient and caregiver.

In this case, you are liable for all roles of an employee to a caregiver. An independent caregiver has the mandate to choose days and hours of work. This is unlike a caregiver who operates under an employer.

You are also likely to pay less on an independent caregiver, unlike one working under an agency. Before you hire a caregiver, you must assess the level of need that your loved one requires. You may also opt for personal assistance from caregivers, as articulated below.

old man

Private Duty Caregivers

They deliver vast services to the seniors. Their primary duty is to ensure that you and your family remain independent at home. Private duty caregivers can provide services such as medical and nursing assistance.

Private duty caregivers can operate under third-party agencies or independently. They may also stretch further and help pay bills, meal preparation, housekeeping, and facilitate transport activities. Some may also regularly provide companionships to the elderly.

Informal Caregivers

They are friends or neighbors with whom you have a personal relationship. They provide care in times of need. However, they differ with the family caregiver as they have no direct relationship with you.

An informal caregiver delivers environmental care and ill and disabled assistance with no pay. They may also help keep an eye on older people in your home. Unlike formal caregivers who have undergone training, informal caregivers utilize common knowledge to deliver their services.

Volunteer Caregivers

Volunteer caregivers have hospice skills that focus on special care, especially for adults with disabilities or chronic conditions. They deliver respite non-medical assistance and supervision assistance so that your primary caregiver can have a break off the “caring session.” These caregivers are regular community members, which escalate their association with affected families and friends.

Some may go the extra mile and help with simple chores at your home, such as meal preparation, cleaning, shopping, among others. Additionally, they may help you attend medical appointments and help you feel comfortable.

Volunteer caregivers might come from the community or non-profit-organizations. Their services might last overnight or a few hours and can be arranged for directly via an agency.

Below is a section that elaborates on how you can choose and hire your caregiver via CDPAP.

Services Provided by Caregivers

Caregivers provide a broad range of services designed to support individuals who require assistance with daily living activities due to age, illness, disability, or other health-related conditions. These services are essential in ensuring that individuals maintain their quality of life, dignity, and independence as much as possible. Here’s an overview of the various services provided by caregivers:

Personal Care Assistance

  1. Bathing and Hygiene: Caregivers assist with personal hygiene activities, including bathing, grooming, shaving, and oral care. Maintaining personal cleanliness is crucial for overall health and well-being.
  2. Dressing: Help with selecting appropriate clothing and assisting with dressing ensures that individuals are comfortable and dressed suitably for various activities and weather conditions.
  3. Mobility Assistance: Caregivers help with movement and mobility, including transferring from bed to chair, walking, and using mobility aids like wheelchairs and walkers. This support is vital for preventing falls and injuries.
  4. Toileting and Incontinence Care: Providing assistance with toileting and managing incontinence ensures that individuals maintain their dignity and hygiene.

Household Support

  1. Meal Preparation and Feeding: Caregivers plan and prepare nutritious meals tailored to the individual’s dietary needs and preferences. They also assist with feeding if necessary, ensuring that individuals receive adequate nutrition.
  2. Light Housekeeping: Keeping the living environment clean and safe, caregivers perform tasks such as vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes, and laundry. A clean home environment is essential for health and comfort.
  3. Shopping and Errands: Caregivers can run errands, such as grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, and other necessary tasks, allowing individuals to remain at home without missing essential services and supplies.
  4. Transportation: Providing transportation to medical appointments, social activities, and other essential outings helps individuals stay connected and attend necessary engagements.

Health-Related Services

  1. Medication Management: Caregivers ensure that medications are taken as prescribed, assisting with dosage schedules and monitoring for side effects. Proper medication management is critical for health and preventing complications.
  2. Monitoring Health Conditions: Regularly checking vital signs, observing changes in health status, and reporting concerns to healthcare professionals are part of a caregiver’s role. This proactive approach helps in early detection and management of health issues.
  3. Post-Surgical Care: After surgery, caregivers provide the necessary care to support recovery, including wound care, mobility assistance, and ensuring adherence to post-operative instructions.
  4. Therapy Support: Assisting with physical, occupational, or speech therapy exercises as prescribed by healthcare professionals helps individuals improve their functional abilities and maintain their independence.

Emotional and Social Support

  1. Companionship: Offering companionship and engaging in meaningful conversations and activities helps reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Social interaction is important for mental and emotional health.
  2. Emotional Support: Caregivers provide emotional support, helping individuals cope with the challenges of aging, illness, or disability. They offer a listening ear and empathetic presence, which can be incredibly comforting.
  3. Recreational Activities: Encouraging and facilitating participation in hobbies, games, and recreational activities promotes mental stimulation and enjoyment, contributing to a higher quality of life.

Specialized Care

  1. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care: Caregivers trained in dementia and Alzheimer’s care provide specialized support tailored to the unique needs of individuals with cognitive impairments. This includes memory care activities, safety monitoring, and behavior management.
  2. End-of-Life Care: Providing compassionate care and support during the final stages of life, caregivers ensure comfort, dignity, and emotional support for both the individual and their family.
  3. Respite Care: Offering temporary relief for primary caregivers, respite care allows family members to take breaks while ensuring their loved ones continue to receive high-quality care. This service helps prevent caregiver burnout and maintains the overall well-being of the family unit.

Becoming a CDPAP Caregiver

Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) is an initiative that allows you to hire your caregiver. Numerous advantages accompany CDPAP caregivers, and they include:

·   You will have immense control over care. This is because the agency appoints a caregiver to serve a particular client solely. This promotes better care as you plan a schedule that is effective for both the client and your needs.

·   The agency can reward caregivers who have been delivering free services. All that is required is you complete a CDPAP online application and check whether you meet all the required thresholds.

·   You can engage in caregiving roles even without the formal training. This is unlike agency caregivers who must attend courses and training programs to be eligible for the roles.

·   The initiative allows caregivers to execute tasks that are not permitted by a home health aide. Such tasks include administering medications and dressing injuries, among other medical tasks. Thus, this may be an ideal solution for both the families and the caregivers.

granddaughter caregiver holding

You Deserve the Best Care

You deserve the best caregiver to take care of your daily needs. Hiring in-home care is always the best option. Your caregiver doesn’t have to be trained. They just need to know how to tend to your needs.