5 Key Differences between Caregiver vs Domestic Maid

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Time will come when our loved ones need extra help in their daily living and activities, especially when they are ill or have a medical condition requiring extra care and attention.

Once you’ve decided that your loved ones who are older adults need extra care, the next step is deciding whether to hire care services or not and choosing the appropriate care services for your elders, which can be very difficult and overwhelming.

Once that is established, you will also need to consider who to hire to care for them. People are often confused about whether to hire caregivers or domestic maids, and they are often interchanged in some circumstances. You might also consider the appropriate care to be provided when choosing someone to hire for our care recipient.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help you.

Who are Caregivers and Domestic Maids?

Caregivers and domestic maids or domestic helpers both provide many homes with the essential services they need.

Domestic maids are mostly foreign domestic workers (FDWs) hired to do household and domestic chores such as child care, infant care, elder care, and housekeeping. They can also be given specialised training in their home countries, especially when they are tasked to service and assist elderly care Singapore recipients. This is needed to gain the right skills to provide the appropriate care required by the households.

While domestic helpers provide domestic care for our loved ones, caregivers, whether live-in or not, provide specialised care, given their nursing background and skill sets gained through caregiving experience and additional caregiver training.

What are the 5 key differences between Caregivers and Domestic Maids?

Most of the time, caregivers and domestic maids are interchanged and confused with one another. Critical differences between live-in caregivers and domestic maids include their job scope, training and experience, salary, willingness and affinity, and language ability which are further elaborated on below.

1) Job Scope

Domestic helpers or maids assist families and elders in their daily needs. Their job scope includes primary care for elderly people and even young children, as well as household and domestic chores such as housekeeping, preparing meals,  grocery shopping, and even providing them with a certain level of companionship. All in all, they offer and are more capable of general household assistance.

On the other hand, the well-being of the care recipient is more of a priority for caregivers. This includes devoting their time and efforts to attending to the caregiving needs of your loved one and offering them support and company especially relating to their medical and specialised needs.

They are not allowed to handle basic housekeeping since you must be clear about certain work expectations with the caregiver (or the organisation that offers their services). If the caregiver is capable of taking care of your loved one’s needs, they may be able to assist with some light housework that pertains to the care recipient’s hygiene, cleanliness and well-being.

2) Training and Experience

While maids don’t usually require or need certifications, caring for an elderly person may require additional training for better handling and assistance.

However, caregivers must have specialised and proper training, certifications and formal education from caregiving schools for certain activities or procedures the elders may need.

They guide our elderly loved ones in simple rehabilitation exercises, advanced care services, and more rigorous care routines, including conducting speech therapy, administering injections, tube feeding, suctioning, oxygen therapy, and urinary catheter care. These are part of their integrated care giver training. Still, live-in caregivers are not substitutes for healthcare professionals.

3) Salary

Comparing the salaries of both domestic maids and caregivers, caregivers have relatively higher wages than domestic maids.

On average, certified caregivers’ salaries are $19 per hour. However, you may opt to hire live-in and full-time caregivers.

Their salary ranges from $580 to $1000. The caregivers’ wages depend on their experience, certification, and qualifications. Certified caregivers earn more. Experienced caregivers can showcase different skill sets to assist families.

Meanwhile, domestic maids or domestic helpers have a basic salary from $500 to $600. Their pay usually depends on their nationality, experience, and skill sets. Usually, island maids from Indonesia or the Philippines earn $480 to $600. Those domestic workers who have prior experience working in Singapore typically earn more.

For both professions, the salary increases as they gain experience.

1) Willingness and Affinity

It is essential to find a domestic helper or caregiver willing to work and give aid to their clients. Finding a suitable domestic helper or caregiver with the right attitude is essential to help the elders with their daily living.

Domestic maids and caregivers have basic skill sets. They are trained to provide personal care and health care for clients. Caregivers are trained to assist their clients’ medical and caregiving needs. They can assist with medications, administering injections, and speech therapies.

Being a caregiver is not a simple job. They must have the patience, emotional strength, and mental maturity to do their job correctly. They may have to deal with medical conditions that will be uncomfortable for them but are necessary to provide appropriate care for their patients. They may also encounter elders who will have bad tempers due to the pain their suffering because of old age.

Because of this, willingness is essential to provide the appropriate care for the elders.

2) Language and Ability

Both domestic maids and caregivers need to communicate appropriately with their care recipients and family members to fulfil their responsibilities.

Caregivers are often required to be fluent in many languages, such as English, Chinese, and Malay. They also need to be able to communicate with other dialects. They must be able to speak to their care recipients to understand what care they need thoroughly.

Also, by being fluent in these languages, they can converse with the family members and understand their instructions and requests as to what services they require the caregivers to administer.

Meanwhile, domestic maids need only to have basic knowledge of the languages. Having this bare minimum comprehension of the wording is enough for them to fulfil their duty and assist with the household chores. They may pick up more languages later on as they become more experienced with doing their job.

Final Words

While looking for the appropriate care service for our family members or loved ones can be a tedious task, many factors must be considered to help us decide whether to choose between hiring maid for elderly or a live-in caregiver.  We must make sure to do thorough checking to be able to make sure that the proper care service is given to our elderly parents or loved ones.

Joshua is the founder of RC Caregivers. Having been the primary caregiver of his father, he has been undertaking ways to provide affordable and quality care, not just to his father, but to all elderly in Singapore. He has founded multiple care companies, such as Red Crowns Senior Living, and has been featured in Straits Times, Zaobao and Money 93FM. He has also been lauded by DBS, with the company being the recipient of the DBS foundation grant.
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