Key Difference – Caretaker vs Caregiver
Although it is easy to assume that caretaker and caregiver are two different terms since take and give are words with opposite meanings, caregiver and caretaker actually have very similar meanings. The key difference between caretaker and caregiver is that caregiver is someone who looks after a person who needs care and support whereas caretaker is someone who is employed to take care of a thing, place, or person. There are many other slight differences in the usage of these two words.
What Does Caretaker Mean?
The noun caretaker originally meant someone who takes care of a thing, place, or person; one put in charge of anything. This can refer to a person taking care of a place or a person who is looking after children, disabled or elderly people, etc. The following sentences will help you to understand how this word is used in different contexts.
She acted as a caretaker for Andersons’ little daughter, Viola.
The caretaker of the escaped lion was fired yesterday.
They hired a caretaker to look after the place and went abroad.
Her husband was an animal caretaker, and she helped with the horses.
Old Peter served as the caretaker of the mansion for forty years.
According to the Oxford English Online Dictionary, in British English, caretaker typically refers to a person employed to look after a building or someone holding power temporarily. It is in American English that this word refers to a person employed to look after people or animals. The American Heritage dictionary defines caretaker as “one that is employed to look after or take charge of goods, property, or a person”. One main feature that is noticeably in both these definitions is the fact that caretaker is a form of employment. This is a main difference between caretaker and caregiver.
What Does Caregiver Mean?
Caregiver is a relatively newer term than caretaker, and is mainly used in American English. The British equivalent of caregiver is carer. Caregiver is a person who provides direct care for children, elderly, disabled or chronically ill people, etc. Caregiver can refer to a paid employee such as a physician, nurse, or social worker, who helps in the identification, prevention, or treatment of an illness or disability. It can also refer to a family member or guardian who takes care of a child or dependent adult. For example, if a woman stays with her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and looks after, she can be named as a caregiver. Caregiver may support a person physically and emotionally.
The following example sentences will give you an idea about the use of this word in sentences.
When Margaret got sick, her daughter Helene became her primary caregiver.
Mothers are traditionally considered as the nurturers and caregivers.
I acted as a caregiver for my disabled brother for 15 years.
What is the difference between Caretaker and Caregiver?
Caretaker is someone who is employed to take care of a thing, place, or person.
Caregiver is someone who looks after a person who needs care and support.
Employees vs Family:
Caretaker often refers to someone who is paid or employed to take care of something.
Caregiver can either refer to a paid employee or a family member.
Usage in British English:
Caretaker mainly refers to a person who takes care of a place.
Caregiver is not much used; carer is the British equivalent.
Usage in American English:
Caretaker refers to someone who is employed to look after or take charge of goods, property, or a person;
Caregiver refers to a family member or a professional who provides support and care for a child or a dependent adult.
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