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Caretaker vs. Caregiver: What's the Difference?

November 22, 2023

When caring for loved ones at home, there is often a mix-up between "caregiving" and "caretaking." Some people interchange these terms because they sound similar, and the responsibilities can sometimes overlap. 

Still, the primary functions of caregiver vs. caretaker differ in a few essential ways. In this article, we define these terms and clarify their key differences to avoid confusion when deciding what kind of support you or your loved one may require!

What Does a Caregiver Do?

A caregiver can be a trained family member or other qualified individual who provides comprehensive care to those unable to manage daily tasks due to:

  • Age
  • Illness
  • Disability

Usually, caregivers are trained to offer support, including everyday practical assistance. They ensure a safe living environment for their care recipients, companionship, and some household chores. 

A caregiver's responsibilities can range from assisting with activities like bathing, eating, dressing, and exercising to providing emotional support and helping clients make informed choices.

They also manage appointments, coordinate with healthcare providers, and offer companionship. In essence, caregiving involves a personal and emotional connection with the individual being cared for.

What Does a Caretaker Do?

A caretaker is primarily responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of a property, person, or animal. 

His or her duties are focused on practical daily tasks. A caretaker's role is clearly defined in a job description, and he or she typically does not take on additional duties beyond that list of responsibilities.

A caretaker does not usually form a personal and emotional connection with the person receiving care.

What is the Difference Between A Caretaker vs. Caregiver?

Caretakers typically do not receive formal training, while caregivers are trained and (in many states) certified.

A caregiver has a more formal role, while a caretaker is more casual. The choice between the two depends heavily on the unique needs of the individual requiring care.

What do You Call a Person Receiving Care?

We call someone who receives care from a caregiver a "recipient of care" or "client," depending on the situation. 

At Best Care, we're committed to helping you navigate crucial care decisions. We're here to answer all your questions about family caregiving, assuring you that with the right support, any care journey can be managed with comfort and dignity!

Elderly man walking with grandchild.
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