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Caretaker vs Caregiver: Differences Between Taking & Giving Care

Caretaker vs Caregiver: Differences Between Taking & Giving Care

It's normal to struggle with the emotional toll of caring for those who aren’t able to care for themselves. Whether you're experiencing grief due to the health decline of a loved one, feeling guilty about frustrations related to caregiving, or struggling with a lack of support, you’re not alone. Here, we'll explore the nuanced differences between caretaking and caregiving.

What's the Difference Between a Caregiver and a Caretaker?

  • Caregiver: Someone deeply invested in the well-being of the person for whom they're providing physical and/or emotional care. A caregiving relationship allows one to form a bond with the person and often creates a more rewarding experience for both parties.
  • Caretaker: Traditionally someone who attends to another’s basic care, possessions, properties, or performs other tasks outside of any emotional attachment. Sometimes referred to as a care partner, a person in the caretaker role does not choose to execute their duties out of compassion. Rather, they're providing a (typically contracted) paid service.

Emotional Nuances of Varying Care-Related Roles

When providing care for a loved one, or providing care for patients as a part of your career, it's important to take care of yourself both mentally and physically.

The particular responsibilities and physical or emotional burdens of caretaking and caregiving often set those roles apart in meaningful ways. While caretaking can certainly be a part of caregiving, it’s typical for caregiving to instill a more personal connection with the care recipient.  

However, it’s also important to acknowledge that the unique dynamics of each care relationship vary. The needs and preferences of the individual being cared for, the approach of the caretaker or caregiver, and the nature of the overall care journey all impact the level of emotional connection and personal involvement of each Care Circle member. 

Caregivers & Emotional Support

The nature of caregiving demands a deep well of empathy and compassion. Due to personal connections caregivers often form, there may also be significant emotional tolls related to stress and burnout, which are challenging yet also normal.

Caregivers face demanding circumstances, and the following related issues are not uncommon: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Persistent feelings of dread, grief, anger, or worry 
  • Anticipatory grief
  • Feeling abandoned by others who were expected to participate in caregiving

Caring for a loved one when they are unable to care for themselves can be an honor, but may also feel like a burden. You are certainly not alone if you relate to that feeling from time to time. Talking with other caregivers and seeking out additional support such as therapy, combined with proper rest and physical activity, will help keep you mentally healthy while providing care.

Through a supportive environment and lifestyle, caregivers are encouraged to share experiences as well as find the relief and guidance they need to cope with difficult emotional demands.

Caretakers & Expert Support

Since caretakers are ordinarily more practical and task-oriented, the most valuable form of support may shift from emotional to professional as many caretakers benefit from learned, skilled guidance. Comprehensive training programs, continuing education opportunities, and access to skill-based support resources keep caretakers prepared to offer positive, impactful care.

Real-Life Examples of Caretaking vs Caregiving

Let's take a look at some stories from people who deliver care. 

Here, a grandson shares difficulties with providing care for his grandfather who was nearing the end of his life.

“I wanted to be there for my grandfather every day, as I could tell he didn't have much time left. That being said, it was tough to remain sensible when I realized the rest of my family wasn't going to step up. I was grateful for close relationships other caregivers at the hospital developed to make him feel appreciated and comfortable in those final weeks.”

Here, a caregiver in an assisted living facility shares her experience.

“As a nurse in an assisted living facility, I love getting to know our residents, and I'm proud to be a caregiver. This isn't just a job for me but rather an opportunity to make a difference for those in their golden years. While I do feel stress, especially when a resident's health starts to decline, I love what I do. Talking to others who share my role as a caregiver helps me manage stress and remember why we support those who need us.”

Here, a caretaker shares gratitude for caregivers and discusses how to create a supportive team.

“I'm proud to take care of Mr. Kraft's apartment and his cat while he's recovering in the nursing home. While I'm not interacting with him directly, I'm able to send photos to his caregivers so that they know all is well at home.”

The Role of Caregiven, an App for Those Who Care

Caregiven’s platform works to lighten the load for both caregivers and caretakers. Providing empathetic support, resources, and tools, Caregiven offers countless insights into the needs of caregivers and caretakers.

Full of in-depth industry knowledge, the Caregiven app supplements user experiences through an intelligent chatbot, which offers quick navigation to areas best suited for each unique journey. Further, with the ability to create Care Circles, caregivers and caretakers alike are easily able to communicate. Finally, Caregiven offers a safe, private place to store important documents.

Caregiven: We're Here for You

We understand the difficulties that accompany being a caregiver or a caretaker, and our team is here to help. For more information about how Caregiven supports caregivers and employers alike, we invite you to explore our collection of resources. We’re ready to assist with preventing caregiver-employee burnout and uplifting care professionals.

No matter where you are in the journey around providing care, we look forward to offering guidance. Subscribe to our newsletter or sign up for Caregiven today.