Caregiver Duties

Elderly Caregiver Duties

Caregiver duties and responsibilities may be wide ranging, so anyone considering taking care of the elderly as a possible career should be flexible and able to adjust to a dynamic, ever changing job.  If you do choose this profession however, you will both find it rewarding and secure, given the fact that the Baby Boomers are just now beginning to hit retirement age.

Therefore, here are the sorts of tasks that would be expected of you as a caregiver for the elderly:

Feeding and Cleaning

Caregiver duties usually include meal preparation and a certain amount of cleaning.  Caregivers are often expected to warm prepared meals for their elderly charges.  Often the elderly person can no longer be trusted to use the kitchen safely or is simply physically incapable of doing so.  In such cases, the caregiver will prepare the meal and bring the meal to the elderly patient the caregiver is helping.

Generally speaking, caregivers are not responsible for cleaning the entire home or room of the elderly person.  In a nursing facility, this task is for to the cleaning staff and in a private home, the person in charge of finances and scheduling (often an adult child of the patient) would be responsible for securing a cleaning person.  However, some minor cleaning is often involved in care giving.  A caregiver might do the dishes or clean a dining table before serving their charge, for example.  Toilets and windows, however, are the province of the housekeeper, not the caregiver.


Although caregivers are not doctors, they are usually given a certain amount of training as nurses—in fact, some caregivers may actually be RNs.  This is a necessary because one of the most important caregiver duties is reminding the patient to take their medications on time.  Many of the elderly suffer from mental deterioration, which makes it difficult for them to keep track of time.

Caregivers are usually not responsible for administering injections or any more complicated procedures.  This is left to the doctors and nurses.


In some cases, caregiver duties may include bathing or changing the bedpans of certain patients.  Such duties are very intimate and require someone with a mature personality that understands the importance of his or her responsibilities.

Driving Patients

Many patients can no longer drive themselves because of age related problems with sight and mental cognition.  Thus, one of the many roles that caregivers take is in driving patients to appointments and on errands.  Often caregivers in nursing homes will take patients to the supermarket so that they can shop for their own food.  During such outings, the caregiver is often also responsible for helping the patients carry their groceries back to the vehicle.

Such outings help the elderly to remain in touch with the world and to avoid the feeling that they are prisoners rather than residents in their nursing home.



Often the caregiver’s most important role is one that is sometimes given short shrift among their list of duties.  Many elderly need human contact more than anything else does.  They may be confined to beds or simply ignored by their families.  In such cases just lending an ear, or playing a game of checkers with the patient can be exactly what the doctor ordered.

In short, caregivers don’t get rich from helping the elderly, but the job does have a certain amount of job security—given demographics.  In addition, caregivers do have a strong sense of the importance of what they do and the value that they add to the world.  Many people just never quite find that mission that helps them to define their places in the world.