Senior Living
Live-In Caregiver: 8 Misconceptions and Truths

Live-In Caregiver: 8 Misconceptions and Truths

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caregiver misconceptions


Webster’s dictionary explains a Live-In Caregiver as:

“a person who provides direct care (as for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill)”

The actual recognition of what a caregiver is surpasses this meaning. It’s because the job of caregivers in the 21st century extends beyond the word itself. They act as the backbone of the healthcare system. Without them, the lives of millions across the globe would not be the same. The term itself is self-explanatory; caregivers provide care services to their patients. Caregivers perform various medical or non-medical tasks based on the needs of clients.

What Are 4 Types of Caregivers?

Before knowing about Live-In Caregiver, there are 4 primary types of caregivers. They include informal or family caregivers, professional caregivers, independent caregivers, and volunteer caregivers. You can consider the different kinds of caregivers, depending on your circumstances. 

  1. Informal or family caregiver  

Informal and family caregivers are different. A family caregiver is a relative who likely has volunteered their time to care for the patient. An informal caregiver has no relations with the patient. It may be a neighbor or friend. Typically, this type of caregiver is untrained and may not provide the best care, especially for medical problems. 

  1. Professional caregiver 

This type of caregiver works for a Home Care agency and has likely trained for the role. They may provide medical care as well as non-medical. 

  1. Independent caregiver  

This type of caregiver does not work for any agencies. Independent caregivers may be trained. You need to hire them directly. 

  1. Volunteer caregiver  

As the name suggests, this type of caregiver volunteers their time to be friendly companions. They usually do not provide other care services. 

More and more people in the United States are now opting for a live-in caregiver. This type of care falls under Home Care when caregivers provide services at the patient’s home. Opposite to this is Senior Living, in which the patient moves to a facility.

8 Misconceptions and Truths 

As the trend for live-in caregivers rises, so do growing misconceptions surrounding them. They not only stand in the way of care-seekers as it hampers their judgment. They also demotivate caregivers. So, we’re here to clear the air around these misconceptions! Now YOU can make the right decision for your loved one!

1. Misconception: My loved One Is Only Growing Old; They Probably Don’t Need Any Home Care

A live-in caregiver taking a senior man on a wheelchair to the park

When we’re always around our loved ones, we tend to become complacent. We see them age, but we fail to recognize if they are suffering. It’s often tricky, and by the time we realize it, it may be too late.

Ask Instead – How do I know when someone needs Home Care?

Older adults often need help, as aging takes away their abilities to perform simple tasks such as Activities of Daily Life (ADLs). They may be unable to eat, bathe, groom themselves, or even go to the toilet without assistance. Identify these factors to determine if they need a caregiver.

While your loved one may seem healthy, they may be facing specific issues you’re not aware of. Especially if you’re busy with work and other responsibilities, you may consider getting a caregiver for them. Depending on the severity of their conditions, you may choose a live-in caregiver.

As life expectancies continue to rise, more people struggle with their health. This development is the grim reality that stares us in the face today. So, while science may have helped us live longer, how good (and fit) a life we live is in our own hands. It only highlights the importance of proper care.

A live in caregiver woman is looking after a senior man

2. Misconception: Independent Caregivers Are Hard to Find

As independent caregivers don’t work for agencies, they must be challenging to come across! It’s unlikely that I will be able to find an excellent and trustworthy independent caregiver!

Ask Instead – How do I find an independent caregiver?

Independent caregivers aren’t that hard to find. Reach out to your friends and relatives and ask them to refer someone to you. You can also get in touch with a local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) (churches, senior centers, or even your doctor’s- are great places to find one).

To put it into perspective, independent caregivers are all around you. You need to do your research right to find the best fit for you and your loved one. We know that independent caregivers do not work with Home Care agencies. But that doesn’t mean that they are hard to find. Newspapers and magazines are a way to start with your search. There are many classified ads for such services.

The advantage of independent caregivers is that they are usually not as expensive as their agency counterparts. However, you need to be sure to do a thorough background check when hiring one. The advantage of caregivers under agencies is that they are trained professionals. You can also be sure of their backgrounds. You can find Home Care services with us! 

3. Misconception: A Live-In Caregiver Salary Must be High

Caregivers charge by the hour and also have a minimum amount of hours we need to hire them. They must be expensive! So, a live-in caregiver must be even more costly! 

Ask Instead – How much does a live-in caregiver make an hour?

There are many myths about how much caregivers earn. Many people think they provide services free of charge but that is not the case. You’ll likely pay the caregiver by the hour. A live-in caregiver may charge anywhere between $10 to $20 per hour. 

You can get an estimate from this site.

A caregiver’s salary will depend on several factors. These factors include how many hours the caregiver is offering their service. The state you’re in (different conditions have different terms for pay-outs). Most importantly, the kind of services they are rendering. If it’s an independent or informal caregiver, you may be able to negotiate the rate.

4. Misconception: My house and I Are Prepared for Home Care 

I have decided to get a live-in caregiver for my loved one. I’m prepared to get Home Care. My house is spacious and clean. What else do I need?

Ask Instead – How do I prepare my home for caregiving?

You’ll have to take care of quite a few things before you can opt for live-in Home Care. First, compile your senior’s medical information and share it with the caregiver. 

Select a separate room for your caregiver as they need their personal space. Outline any house rules that you expect your caregiver to follow while on duty or otherwise. Take a look at these guidelines for setting up your home for caregiving.

A recent study shows that 51% of care recipients live-in their own homes. This figure only assures that more and more people are opting for Home Care over other forms of services. This trend arose because of the flexibility that this service provides. You can always monitor your loved one’s condition. You can also be around the caregiver whenever they need any support from your end. Hence, preparing yourself for a live-in caregiver is as important as preparing your home for it!

5. Misconception: Live-In Caregivers Are at Your Helm 24/7

I’ve hired a live-in caregiver. That must mean they will be at my beck and call at all times. 

Ask Instead – Do live-in caregivers get time off?

There’s only one way to answer this. YES! There are strict laws in each state that ensure that caregivers aren’t exploited beyond their contractual agreement. Live-in caregivers normally work 8 to 10 hours per day and 56 hours per week.

On occasions where you need overtime work, you’ll have to compensate them for the duration of the overtime. 

Before you hire a caregiver, please remember that they are as bound to you as you’re to your workplace. You should mention a set number of working hours in the contract beforehand. Also, make sure to include compensation for any overtime. 

Caregivers have equal responsibilities to their families and themselves. Allow them some time off their schedule every day so that they can look after their loved ones too.

6. Misconception: Live-In caregivers Only Look after Routine Tasks

Home caregivers probably only look after routine tasks. I may need to find other solutions for other issues my loved one may face.

Ask Instead – What exactly does a caregiver do?

Live-In caregivers are there for almost anything that you need of them. They will take care of everyday tasks like bathing, eating, and reading. They may also help with managing finances, providing transportation, and maintaining medication. You can hire them for any number of responsibilities.

Many caregivers are certified to help with medical assistance in the time of need. Battling many prejudices about their responsibilities, some caregivers may offer a one-stop solution. Some caregivers specialize in dealing with specific conditions, as well. 

You may have several such requirements from the caregiver. Make sure to jot down all such possible requirements. Make sure to discuss these with them before they start working.

That being said, don’t hesitate to hire a caregiver for the sole purpose of maintaining the daily routine of your loved one. We all know how demanding time schedules can be, especially if you have a family to look after. Seniors will always appreciate the assurance of having good company and care.

A live in caregiver woman is looking after a senior woman

7. Misconception: Caretaker vs. Caregiver – What’s the Difference Anyway?

Caretaker, caregiver, they sound pretty much the same! I can get one or the other! It probably won’t make much of a difference!

Ask Instead – What is the difference between a caretaker and a caregiver?

Caretaker vs. caregiver – These are two words that don’t have the same meaning. A caregiver is someone who looks after a person who needs care or support. A caretaker is employed to take care of a thing or a place in most situations.

To put things into perspective, a caretaker is someone you put in charge of ‘something.’ That ‘something’ may even be a person. Caretakers look after them for a definite time with a finite employment understanding. 

In comparison, a caregiver is a person who provides care for other people. A caregiver can be employed, as well as someone who is volunteering to look after someone else. Also, caregivers go above and beyond to support someone physically and emotionally. Now, when you’re looking to find someone to help a beloved senior at home, you know exactly for whom to look!

8. Misconception: Home Care Is Unaffordable

If the caregiver will charge us per hour, and we hire a live-in caregiver, Home Care might be unaffordable. How would I finance it?

Ask Instead – How much does Home Care cost?

Home Care doesn’t cost as much as perceived. The reason is the flexibility of the working hours of the caregiver. Yet, it may be more expensive in the case of live-in caregivers, especially if they provide 24-hour care with little breaks. Thus, most people prefer to opt for some Senior Living facilities. They have several trained aides who provide care around the clock.

Also, over time, Home Care may start to be more expensive than Senior Living. More so if you’re a senior living alone, and the services are for yourself. It’s because you’ll have to cover the caregiver’s costs on top of every other household expense. In the case of Senior Living, most additional expenses are either eliminated or included in monthly fees.

With that said, Senior Living may not be a viable option due to several reasons. In that case, you may have little alternative to considering hiring a caregiver. As mentioned before, Home Care is not unaffordable! 

According to indeed.com, a caregiver salary can range anywhere from $5000 to $8000 a month in the United States. You can check if Medicare or Medicaid covers the type of Home Care you need. If your loved one is eligible for Veteran’s benefits, you can use that to cover some of the costs. The individual states provide assistance programs for low-income elders. You can check out your state’s options and whether you or your loved one will be eligible. You can also check if your insurance will cover your caregiving requirements.

To Sum It All Up

We now know that anybody can need Home Care – You only have to keep a note of their health. To cater to that, we understand that independent caregivers are relatively easy to find and do not come without a cost. Preparing your home for caregiving is vital, as is giving your caregiver much-needed time-off. We have also outlined the various tasks and roles that caregivers perform. On top, we’ve gotten better insight into what makes them different from caretakers. Check out our article on ADLs and IADLs to learn more about them.

We hope we helped clear up some common misconceptions around live-in caregiver and caregiving in general. Hopefully, now you’re better positioned to make a sound decision for your loved ones at your homes. Caregivers are often the only form of support that people have. Compassionate, dedicated, and selfless, they almost always put others’ needs before their own. It may seem like a demanding job and a tireless responsibility. Yet, it can be an equally rewarding job to have in these times.

We know not everyone can afford Senior Living or constant hospital care. In such situations, Home Care is a viable option to consider. If your loved one’s health is deteriorating, sometimes live-in care is perhaps the best option.

Additionally, we see that caregivers are like any other working professionals. They often need their breaks. Be sure to provide a comforting environment to those who are looking after your loved ones. Empathy goes a long way in making someone feel valued.

Here are some related articles that you might want to check out: 


If you like what we shared with you, share these common misconceptions and the counter-facts with your loved ones, and help them in your own little way. In case of any queries/questions, leave us a comment down below, and we’ll get back to you at the earliest!


How to become a caregiver for a family member? 

To become a caregiver for a family member, reach out to your local Area Agency on Aging or Family Caregiver Support Program. They can help connect you with resources and support groups in your area. You can also do some online research to find local resources and organizations. Also, be sure to talk to your family about the decision and offer to help with any tasks. Finally, make sure you take care of yourself as well! 

Who qualifies as a caregiver under Medicare rules? 

There are no specific qualifications to be a caregiver under Medicare rules, but the person providing care must be someone who is either related to the beneficiary or has been appointed by the beneficiary. 

How to become an independent contractor caregiver? 

To become an independent contractor caregiver, you will need to have a certification, along with a high school diploma or GED certificate. Additionally, you will also need to provide proof of your insurance and driver’s license. After that, you have to complete a criminal background check and provide copies of your references. 

Do you have to pay taxes on caregiver wages? 

The answer to this question is complicated. In general, caregivers are not considered employees, and as such, their wages are not subject to payroll taxes. However, if a caregiver is classified as an employee, they have to pay income taxes. 

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