Elderly Caregivers vs. Regular Domestic Helpers: A Comparative Analysis

With today’s great health awareness campaigns and advanced medical facilities, many more Singaporeans’ are living past the age of 70 compared to 3 years ago according to the latest statistics from SingStat. As our population ages, the demand for elderly caregiving services has grown significantly. Families often seek assistance to ensure their retired loved ones receive the necessary support and care to maintain their quality of life. In Singapore, families often turn towards foreign domestic workers (FDW) or migrant domestic workers (MDW) to take care of their retired parents or grandparents. However, choosing a well-trained and certified FDW or MDW makes a whole lot of difference. Let’s explore the key differences between an experienced elderly caregiver domestic worker, with a regular or fresh housekeeping FDW.

1. Job Scope

Elderly Caregivers:

  • Primary Focus: Elderly caregivers specialize in providing personalized care and assistance to individuals with various needs, including disabilities, chronic illnesses, or age-related conditions (such as dementia or mobility issues).
  • Responsibilities: Caregivers assist with daily activities, medication management, companionship, and emotional support. They may also accompany care recipients to medical appointments. Apart from these, they can cover regular housekeeping chores during gaps of free time.
  • Training: Caregivers undergo specialized training, including CPR, first aid, infection control, and basic medical skills. Soft skills such as communication, empathy, and problem-solving are also emphasized.
  • Bonus: Some experienced elderly caregivers can also speak our local dialects which are widely used by our pioneer generation!

Regular Domestic Helpers:

  • Main Role: Domestic helpers primarily handle household chores, such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, and grocery shopping. They may also be able to take care of young children or pets.
  • Assistance Level: While domestic helpers can assist with caregiving duties, they are usually not formally trained or equipped to deliver care safely. Their focus is on maintaining the household cleanliness and hygiene. 
  • Training: Domestic helpers typically require minimal training, as their work involves routine household tasks. They often do not undergo specialized training to take care of elderly or infants. 

2. Skills and Training

Elderly Caregivers:

  • Specialized Skills: Caregivers possess a range of skills beyond housekeeping. These include administering medications, managing medical equipment, and providing emotional support.
  • Formal Training: Caregivers often hold formal certificates in caregiving or nursing. They receive training in both technical and soft skills to tackle the individual needs of our pioneers. 
  • Safety Measures: Caregivers are trained to handle crises and emergencies, ensuring the safety and well-being of their clients. They would normally also have higher situational awareness which is key when handling elderly’s safety at home and outside. 

Regular Domestic Helpers:

  • General Skills: Domestic helpers are trained in a variety of household-related tasks but may lack specialized caregiving skills. They also would not possess the skills and knowledge to administer medication if required. 
  • Minimal Training: Their training focuses on basic housekeeping duties rather than medical or caregiving skills.
  • Limited Safety Training: Domestic helpers may not be well-versed in emergency procedures. And most of them will await instructions when meeting an unfamiliar situation. 
  • Less Costly: As a result of being less specialized, regular domestic helpers may be fresh, or with some general experience working in Singapore, which makes their salary more affordable compared to trained caregiving domestic helpers. 

3. Choosing the Right Option

Selecting the right caregiver or domestic helper depends on individual circumstances. We recommend you to consider the following factors:

  • Health Condition: If your loved one has specific health needs (e.g., chronic illnesses, mobility challenges, or cognitive decline), an elderly caregiver is a better choice.
  • Household Needs: For families requiring assistance with household chores alongside caregiving, a domestic helper can provide support.
  • Training and Experience: Evaluate the caregiver’s qualifications and experience. Look for prior caregiving experience or relevant certifications.
  • Personal Compatibility: Assess how well the caregiver or domestic helper interacts with your loved one. Compassion, patience, and empathy are crucial qualities. Are they also able to understand and communicate with your elderly loved ones? 
  • Physique: An elderly caregiver’s build is also relatively important, as the elderly grows older, he or she may have their mobility restricted, while requiring the domestic caregiver’s support or carry from point A to B within the house. 

Remember that the suitability of a caregiver or domestic helper is subjective. What works for one family may not be ideal for another. Prioritize your loved one’s well-being and choose accordingly.

In conclusion, while both elderly caregivers and regular domestic helpers play essential roles, their distinct responsibilities and training make them suitable for different situations. By understanding these differences, you can make an informed decision that best meets your family’s needs.

At Homekeeper, we house only the best trained elderly caregiving domestic workers. Together with our in-house training done by professionals, we are confident in finding the right person to fill the gap in your household, or simply reach out to us below for more elderly caregiving tips!

About the Author

Linda Seh has over 20 years of experience in the Employment industry. She takes the time to thoroughly interview each family and helper to understand their requirements, personalities, and preferences. Her intuition and insight has helped her make placements that result in lasting, harmonious working relationships. Linda now leverages this expertise and experience to simplify your search and ensure you find the ideal and qualified helper to become a valued member of your family.