The complete list of senior caregiving jobs and career options (2024)

If helping seniors is something you’re passionate about, there are plenty of roles within the caregiving space to explore. Whether you’re looking to transition your experience into a more formal senior caregiving role or are exploring possibilities as a caregiver for the first time, it’s important to get familiar with the options available, what they involve and the experience they require. If you’re looking to find employment as a caregiver, the first step is learning about the different types of senior caregiving jobs and careers.

What is a senior caregiver?

Senior caregivers provide care to older adults who need various types of physical, mental or emotional support. Care may be offered in the senior’s home, a skilled nursing or rehab center or an assisted living setting.

To pinpoint the best fit, Jen Johnson, national care director at Atria Senior Living, recommends considering the requirements associated with each potential environment. Senior caregiver roles typically fall under two umbrellas: non-medical and skilled caregivers, the main difference being the type of care provided.

“If you have a desire to help seniors and want to make a difference, volunteering may be a way to test the waters.”

— Jen Johnson, national care director, Atria Senior Living

What is a non-medical caregiver?

The duties of a non-medical caregiver typically involve assistance with daily tasks. A non-medical caregiver may be asked to assist with preparing meals for the senior, reminding them to take medications, running errands and providing companionship. A few types of non-medical caregiving roles include:

Companion caregivers

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Companion caregivers provide hands-off care for seniors. This means that a companion caregiver wouldn’t be tasked with dressing or bathing the senior but provide support in other ways. “[Companion caregivers] provide conversation, housekeeping, assistance with meal preparation and assistance to and from activities and appointments,” explains Johnson.

This type of non-medical caregiving typically requires fewer hours than other roles — as little as a few hours per day. “This makes it difficult to staff, as there is a caregiver shortage, and most caregivers are looking for longer shifts, closer to 12 hours,” explains Ryan McEniff, co-owner and CEO of . Companion caregiving may be a great option if you’re new to caregiving since most companion care roles are part-time.

In addition to conversational skills, companion caregiver requirements vary by state and may include a certification course as well as training hours. According to the reported national average starting rates from caregivers listed on, as of April 2024, companion caregivers can expect to earn about $20 per hour.

Personal caregivers

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A personal caregiver takes a more hands-on role. If your loved one has mobility issues, a personal caregiver can help them move around their home, help feed and dress them, and remind them to take their medication at proper times. Personal caregivers may also bathe and feed seniors who have trouble doing so on their own.

Similar to companion care, personal caregivers may only work part-time and can be helpful for family caregivers who may need someone to provide care to their senior loved one while they’re at work or on the weekends. State requirements are similar to companion care as there may be certificates or training hours involved in order to work as a personal caregiver. Personal caregivers can expect to earn about $19.88 per hour, according to the reported national average starting rates from caregivers listed on, as of April 2024.

Assisted living caregivers

If working as part of a team environment appeals to you, working as a caregiver at an assisted living facility is another non-medical caregiving option. “Many times, a potential candidate may have no [formal] experience but has perhaps cared for a family member and, through that process, realized they would like to pursue it as a career,” says Johnson.

Unlike in-home non-medical caregiving, assisted living caregivers work as part of a team at a facility. Duties can range from helping seniors with mobility needs, dressing and bathing, assisting with meals and leading a range of group activities.

Though requirements vary by state, necessary training may be offered upon employment. “In many states, the community has required training to review with the candidate after hiring as part of the onboarding process, as well as on-the-job training,” she says. The pay range for assisted living caregivers typically falls between $12-$14 per hour.

What is a skilled caregiver?

Skilled caregivers have training and certifications that allow them to provide hands-on care for seniors. This can include bathing and dressing seniors with mobility issues, administering medications and taking vital signs. Types of skilled senior caregivers include:

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A CNA can provide care at a hospital, assisted living facility or senior’s home. They often work with a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) who reports to the senior’s doctor.

The duties of a CNA are more hands-on. Monitoring food and liquid intake, bathing, helping seniors use the restroom, recording vital signs and repositioning bedridden seniors are all tasks a CNA can perform. If taking a more personal, hands-on approach to caregiving sounds appealing, becoming a CNA can be a rewarding career.

Working as a CNA requires formal training through a school or program in skilled nursing, which varies by state. “After the training is completed, there is a state test, and the applicant is given a certificate if they meet all of the requirements,” Johnson explains. There’s also continued education that CNAs are required to complete to maintain their certification status. CNAs are typically full-time salaried employees, earning around $36,105 per year on average.

“While it depends on the state’s regulations, generally, CNAs can support seniors in the same way an HHA can, while a CNA is able to support seniors and help with medical devices, manage medications and report on vitals.”

— Ryan McEniff, co-owner and CEO of WellAware Care & Minute Women Home Care

Certified Home Health Aide (HHA)

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Home health aides help seniors age in place by providing in-home care. Becoming an HHA requires less training than a CNA but still allows the caregiver to perform more hands-on tasks.

“While it depends on the state’s regulations, generally, CNAs can support seniors in the same way an HHA can, while a CNA is able to support seniors and help with medical devices, manage medications and report on vitals,” McEniff explains.

During training, HHAs can expect to learn proper bathing methods for a variety of mobile-impaired senior needs, administering proper mouth hygiene and basic medical signs and symptoms. In addition to these tasks, HHAs may also help with housekeeping tasks, preparing meals and providing companionship.

Depending on your state’s requirements, home health aide training may be offered through local community colleges and hospitals and through the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). A certified HHA makes around $36,105 per year on average.

What type of senior caregiving role is right for you?

Still not sure which type of caregiving would best suit you? Why not give it a test drive? “If you have a desire to help seniors and want to make a difference, volunteering may be a way to test the waters,” says Johnson. Organizations like AmeriCorps are always looking for volunteers to provide support and companionship to the elderly in local communities. Consider getting involved on a volunteer basis to determine which senior caregiver role is the best fit.

The complete list of senior caregiving jobs and career options (2024)


What do you call a person who takes care of the elderly? ›

Someone who takes care of a very young, elderly, or ill person is called a caregiver. If you make sure your ailing friend eats every day and is relatively comfortable, you are her caregiver. Being a caregiver is sometimes a paying job — a home health aid and a nurse in a hospital both work as caregivers.

What is the role of a caregiver in elderly patients? ›

On a day-to-day basis, caregivers may be responsible for the majority of comfort care and personal care. Personal caregiving activities include helping with various things the patient is no longer able to do unassisted. Basic caregiver duties could include: Bathing and grooming.

What is the difference between a caregiver and an old sitter? ›

Both senior sitters and caregivers provide emotional support and general life assistance. However, caregivers generally provide a broader range of care, placing more attention on assistance with an elderly individual's ADLs, which include things like bathing, toileting, dressing, grooming, and feeding.

What's the difference between a caretaker and a caregiver? ›

A caregiver refers to someone who directly cares for the elderly, children, or people with serious illnesses. On the other hand, a caretaker's job is broader, such as being employed to take care of the house or land while the owner is away and someone who provides physical or emotional care and support.

What is a professional caregiver called? ›

A certified caregiver, sometimes called a personal health aide or home health aide , is a professional who assists others with daily tasks.

What should a caregiver not do? ›

10 mistakes senior caregivers should avoid
  • Allowing job creep. Private professional senior caregivers are at greater risk of job creep. ...
  • Not communicating effectively. ...
  • Getting burned out. ...
  • Giving into power struggles. ...
  • Fearing asking for help. ...
  • Doing tasks at random. ...
  • Ignoring changes. ...
  • Being disorganized.
Mar 29, 2024

What are the weakness of caregivers? ›

In general, a common weakness for caregivers might be struggling to set appropriate boundaries with clients or feeling overly emotionally invested in their clients' lives. It's important for caregivers to maintain a professional distance while still providing compassionate care and support.

What is higher than a caregiver? ›

Certified nursing assistants have to go through more training than caregivers. Those who aspire to join a CNA program must have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. From there, they must complete a minimum of 75 hours' worth of training and at least 16 hours of clinical training for 4-12 weeks.

How old are most caregivers? ›

The average age of a family caregiver is 49 — but nearly 10% are seniors themselves. Caregivers over the age of 75 are most likely taking care of a spouse or partner. Caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours a week providing care, but 23% spend more than 41 hours per week caregiving.

What is the hardest part of a caregiver? ›

One of the hardest parts of being a caregiver is often the feeling of being overwhelmed and isolated. Caregivers may experience a range of emotions, from stress and frustration to sadness and guilt. Seeking support is essential for caregivers to alleviate these feelings and prevent burnout.

What is considered light housekeeping for a caregiver? ›

Light housekeeping includes tasks such as dusting open surfaces; sweeping and mopping floors (damp mops – small areas and hard surface floors); vacuuming around furniture; wiping down counters; washing and putting dishes away; cleaning bathrooms and kitchens; taking out the trash; changing sheets and making the bed; ...

What is the job specification of a caregiver? ›

Caregivers provide company for loved ones and services that improve their living environment and make them feel more at home. They provide personal care, meal assistance, transportation, medication management, and other health care duties as needed.

What is the importance of a checklist for the caregiver? ›

A caregiver daily checklist can help reduce the stress associated with caregiving by providing a structured approach to caregiving tasks, streamlining the process and facilitating communication with healthcare providers.

What are caretakers called now? ›

A caretaker whose responsibility is to take care of a person is called a caregiver. Guardians also take care of seniors and children.

What is it called when you work with the elderly? ›

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Although a CNAs responsibilities will change from setting to setting, you will often find them working in nursing homes, patient homes, and care centers for the elderly helping patients complete daily tasks.

What do you call someone who takes care of everyone else? ›

Someone who is altruistic always puts others first. An altruistic firefighter risks his life to save another's life, while an altruistic mom gives up the last bite of pie so her kid will be happy.

What is it called when you take care of a family member? ›

The term “family caregiver” describes individuals who care for members of their family of origin, but also refers to those who care for their family of choice. This could be members of their congregation, neighbors or close friends.

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