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Giving and Taking

Oct 09, 2019 02:16PM ● By Laurie James

If we are lucky, we will be gifted the opportunity to care for others: children, siblings, parents, relatives, someone in need and/or elderly people who are losing their faculties. As we explore this reality, let’s take a look at two potential jobs: Caregiver and Caretaker. Each job title can represent an entirely different skill set yet both are vitally important to the care of others.

Caregivers usually give hands-on care, including: dressing, feeding, cleaning, driving, scheduling, etc. They are more likely to interact daily (or often) with the one needing care. Because they are physically present to the one cared for, Caregivers are often more appreciated (at least on the surface!) This is tricky because Caretakers might receive the short end of the stick when appreciation is doled out!!

Caretakers are usually responsible for the business side of property and things: paying bills, making sure all (back office items) are handled. The Caretakers' most important job is to ensure that medical care logistics are handled.

Neither job is particularly glamorous, yet both Caregivers and Caretakers are vital so that we (as human beings) can be of SERVICE to others!!

S – Solidify your responsibilities up front. This might be easier said than done, so be clear about what is expected of you. Overextending yourself is normal with either of these tasks, and clarity can be your best friend!! Proceed with caution!!

E – Empathize with your subject. He or she might not be able to articular exactly what is needed from you. Keep a listening ear and an open heart when dealing with your subject. Patience is a virtue and will ultimately give you the answers you may be seeking!!

R –Rethink your availability before taking on this responsibility. Be honest and realistic about your availability to be a Caregiver or Caretaker. Time management will be vital, as duties usually take much longer than anticipated … it’s part of the gift!!

V – Volunteer to be a Caregiver or Caretaker. It is a valuable (if not lucrative) way to respect another person. This experience will prepare you when someone close to you needs either type of care!! Truth be known, many Caregiver – Caretaker roles are not compensated!!

I – Investigate systems that will make your job easier. If implementing a stop watch or alarm on your phone will help you with time management, do it!! We all have experience (to some degree) with this type of care!! Reach out to your network for more information!!

C – Collaborate as often as you can with the other type of provider (Caregiver vs Caretaker), if you are not performing both roles!! Communication with the other side of provided care makes everything easier!! The biggest mistakes are surprises … these blow everything out of proportion, so keep a collaborative mindset!! 

E – Enter into this responsibility with a great deal of love. If this doesn’t make sense, think of someone you know in the military!! Their love and respect for our country is the best combined example of service as Caregiver AND Caretaker!! #AlwaysCelebrateVeterans

*CAREER FOOTNOTE: Be sure to include your role as Caregiver and/or Caretaker in your current résumé, especially when there are job gaps.  


By: Laurie J. James, MCD, CCELW, CDCC

Laurie J. James is one of the only 12 Master Career Directors globally. She co-founded and presided over the Professional Resume Writing and Research Association from 2000-2004. PRWRA rebranded to Career Directors in 2005. Laurie has created 10,000+ job-winning resumes in her career. She is a credentialed resume & LinkedIn profile writer, seasoned public speaker and award-winning career image coach. Visit her at