8 Key Differences Between Live-in and Part-time Caregivers

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How do you decide which is better between live-in and part-time caregivers? If you have an elderly person at home, you have to choose someone who can best attend to their needs.

You also have to factor in many considerations. Are you looking for a part-time caregiver or a live-in caregiver? Will the caregiver live with you, or will you assign them to elderly loved ones in nursing homes?

This article will shed light on the differences between part-time caregivers and foreign live-in caregivers. It will guide you through the terms you need to understand and the scope of the job.

1. More about the Caregivers’ Accommodation and Employment Type

First, let us define part-time caregivers and live-in caregivers in the context of Singapore.

Part-time caregivers are also referred to as “live-out caregivers.” They render private caregiving services to a permanent resident or someone based in Singapore.

Live-out caregivers are like freelancers. They go to their care recipients’ homes or nursing homes and look after them for the duration of their shifts.

They are typically paid hourly, and work hours can be up to 12 hours per day. They go home at the end of their shift and come back the next day.

This is an easier setup for them since they are permanent residents of Singapore. They can go daily or offer services on-demand, depending on the needs of the elderly patient or their family members.

On the other hand, live-in caregivers work full-time and live with their care recipients. They come from other countries, including Myanmar, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

They come to Singapore as foreign domestic workers. Typically, the job requires a person to be 23 to 50 years old to qualify.

2. Caregiving Scope of Part-Time Caregivers and Foreign Live-In Caregivers

Despite the differences in nationalities and living conditions, part-time and live-in caregivers must deliver quality care to their care recipients. They have to be there to assist in the activities of daily living of their elderly patients.

Depending on the qualifications they presented upon getting hired, these caregivers may be asked to render advanced elderly care, including nasogastric tube feeding and suctioning.

If you require caregivers with such advanced skills for an elderly loved one, you must screen the applicants thoroughly. You also have to make it part of the requirements that they know how to perform such tasks.

However, no matter how efficient your caregivers are, there are services they cannot perform. It’s not allowed by law for caregivers to perform procedures performed by licensed medical practitioners, such as doctors and nurses.

Some procedures your caregivers can’t perform are inserting an IDC or Indwelling Urinary Catheter and NGT or nasogastric tubing.

3. Can Caregivers Perform Housekeeping Services?

Can you ask the caregivers you hired for elderly care to do light housekeeping tasks, such as grocery shopping, doing the laundry, or cooking?

For live-out caregivers, their job description doesn’t typically include housekeeping. However, you can count on them to prepare meals, make the bed, or cook the meals for their elderly patients.

Their care services revolve around looking after their recipients. Their main role is to support the activities of daily living of the elderly they are looking after, provide a listening ear, and ensure they give the best caregiving services they are capable of.

On the other hand, a live-in caregiver can assist you with the housework. They can do housework when the seniors under their care are sleeping or have gone somewhere without them.

They can also help assist other family members in the same household, as long as their priority is their care recipient.

If you prefer to have a caregiver who will do housekeeping chores as well, you have to check with their agency before hiring. This will prevent any miscommunication in the future once the caregiver starts working to provide elderly care.

4. What You Need to Know about the Necessary Arrangements with the Caregivers

The arrangements are different for a live-in and a live-out caregiver. Part-time caregivers have a more flexible arrangement. You can get them on an on-demand basis or part-time (ad-hoc).

You don’t have a long-term commitment with live-out caregivers. You can get a part-time caregiver for several days or weeks.

You can have them assist with interim care as you look for a live-in caregiver. Since there is no contract, you can get a part-time caregiver only when you need someone to look after the seniors in the family.

This means you can have different part-time caregivers each day, depending on their availability.

For a live-in caregiver, you are required to come to an agreement and sign a contract for a certain number of years. The caregivers need the employment contract so they can obtain their work permits.

Most employers and family members wonder what will happen to the caregivers if they no longer require their services, but the contract hasn’t lapsed yet. This can occur when the seniors who require care services have gotten well or have sadly passed.

You will find the answer to this predicament in the contract you’ve signed with the caregiver. If you have agreed to pay or provide notice, you must do as stated in the contract. You can also help the caregiver transfer to another employer. Another option is to repatriate them, with you shouldering all their expenses.

5. When Do Your Caregivers Start Working?

You can arrange for part-time caregivers to work only when you need them. Speak with their agency about whether you are required to arrange the schedule ahead of time or you can get live-out caregivers at the last minute.

While you will likely get an available caregiver even at the last minute, it would take your mind off the worries if you settled the arrangement early on.

For caregivers living abroad, the usual lead-in time to make the necessary arrangements is two to eight weeks. You have to be clear with their agency regarding the matter.

If the live-in caregiver is already in Singapore, they will only wait for the issuance of their work permit, and then they can start working.

6. How Much Will It Cost to Get Caregivers for Seniors?

When you get the services of part-time caregivers, you will pay depending on what they are trained to do. You will pay a premium when you get a licensed nurse to assist the seniors at home. If you have a limited budget, you can get the services of a locally trained caregiver.

If you give them an hourly wage, as of 2020, the rate for a licensed nurse per hour is $24, and $20 for a locally trained caregiver.

For live-in caregivers, you are required to give them a monthly salary. The basic rate for caregivers in Singapore starts at $580. It can go as high as $1000, depending on the caregiver’s work history and other training.

Since the caregiver lives with you, you must provide for their FDW levy, medical expenses, accommodation, and food. In total, prepare at least $1500 for your caregiver’s monthly salary since you need to take into consideration government grants.

7. The Languages Spoken by the Caregivers

This is an important consideration if you’re getting a live-in caregiver for seniors who can only speak and understand Mandarin. Since they will interact more with the caregiver, you need to get them a care provider they can talk to.

If the seniors at home speak Mandarin only, you may want to hire a caregiver from Taiwan. If it’s English caregivers you want, you can hire a local or someone from the Philippines. If the seniors at home speak Malay, you may want to hire someone from Indonesia.

You can also indicate in your requirements the languages your preferred caregivers speak for the seniors at home. This way, the caregivers can go through training before flying in.

8. The Certification and Training for Caregivers

If you have seniors in the family who require constant care, you would prefer hiring a live-in caregiver over a domestic helper. This is because of the certification and training the first one has, which makes them qualified to provide caregiving services.

Countries have varying processes for how live-in caregivers can obtain the necessary certification after training.

In Singapore, agencies provide in-house training for those who want to get employed as live-out caregivers.

In Indonesia, those interested in becoming live-in caregivers undergo a competency test after taking a Caretaker Certification Scheme. While in the Philippines, those who want to get employed as live-in caregivers undergo training provided by TESDA in Health Care Services or Caregiving.

You can also employ live-in caregivers who are graduates and have diplomas in nursing.

Deciding What You Need – Live-In or Part-Time Caregivers?

When you decide whether to hire someone from Singapore part-time or a live-in caregiver from another country, you must assess your needs and budget.

If you have seniors at home who need constant quality care and companionship, it is best to hire a live-in caregiver, since it’s more cost-effective in the long run.

You can hire live-out caregivers at times when your primary caregiver is sick or has asked for a vacation leave.

Seniors Needing Constant Companion

The main advantage of having a live in caregiver over a part-timer is that the seniors in the family are assured of a constant companion or the same person. The seniors in the family would want to develop a bond and friendship with the person looking after them.

This is something you need to weigh in, especially when the seniors at home are suffering from illnesses that make them moody or if they have any memory-related problems, like dementia. Having the same faces look after them will help these seniors feel more at ease.

With part-time caregivers, you can’t be assured that you’ll always get the same person. You can request it, but its approval will still depend on the caregiver’s availability.

Accountability and Reliability in Caregiving

Live-in caregivers live in the same house as the rest of the family members. This gives you ample time to develop a bond and monitor the person’s reliability.

Unlike live-out caregivers, they only stay with the care recipients whenever called. There were even instances when they didn’t show up at the homes of those needing their services.

A live-in caregiver is always there. If they want to quit, they need to notify their family members when they intend to resign. This will give you enough time to look for another caregiver.

So which is better? The answer depends on your needs and what kind of care seniors require.


Live-in and part-time caregivers vary depending on eight factors: employment type, the scope of the job, housekeeping, arrangements, availability, cost, and training.

If you need someone to cover for another caregiver or a family member who can’t be there for a time, then you may get the services of live-out caregivers. However, if you want to hire someone for the long term and the seniors need constancy, you are better off hiring a live-in caregiver.

If you want the best caregiving providers in Singapore, choose a partner that understands what it takes to secure a trustworthy caregiver. This is the expertise of Redcrowns Caregivers, and we have long years in the service to back up our claims.


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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