Soldier, Tinker, Tailor or Caregiver?

You’ve heard this before: “Oh yes, our Indonesian maid can also care for Aunty” Or, how about this: “When granny gets sick we just let the maid take care of her.”

Well that’s just wrong. Do you really believe that the person who mops the floor is also trained to professionally care for humans? Here’s a simple concept: Maids care for things. Caregivers, nurses, and doctors care for people.

In this modern era, most of us are struggling to make ends meet, working longer hours to offset the increasing cost of living. This causes us to spend less and less time at home.

It’s no surprise that quite a number of homes hire help to take care of their elderly or a maid to take care of the housekeeping duties. However, the real question is, are a maid and a caregiver one and the same?

Does a caregiver and a nurse have the same job scope? Let’s look a little deeper.

Job responsibilities

Maid – cleaning, cooking, household work, grocery shopping and general home maintenance.

Nurse – carry out skilled care for patients such as measuring vital statistics, administering and monitoring medication, tube feeding, dressing wounds, regular injections or IV therapy.

Caregiver – perform non-medical tasks such as helping with dressing, toileting, getting around the house, taking basic vital signs, ensuring medication is taken on time, and providing other

limited assistance or “Activities of Daily Living (ADL)” as well as to provide companionship.

Work opportunities

Maid – Many work opportunities at many locations for any employer needing help with simple daily manual labour.

Nurse – Lots of work opportunities at hospitals, assisted living facilities, hospices, residential care centres, retirement centres, clinics, daycare facilities, doctor’s offices, and patient’s homes.

Caregiver – a hugely growing number of work opportunities. Usually hired to work at the patient’s home or at a hospital.

Education and training background

Maid – Can range from no formal education to a high school diploma or pre-university programme diploma

Nurse – High school diploma or pre-university programme (STPM, A-Levels, matriculation, SAM, etc.), 75 to 100 hours duration of formal training, pass a competency examination, physical stamina evaluations and disease screening as well as a criminal background check before certification.

Caregiver – Doesn’t necessarily need any formal training beyond basic CPR and emergency preparedness but are often trained by certified training companies. Some are even nurses but prefer care-giving.

So it’s best to keep things simple. Maids take care of things while caregivers, nurses, and doctors take care of people. Nurses and doctors can visit your elderly loved one’s home to undertake medical procedures such as dressing a wound, checking on feeding tubes, doing psychotherapy, and more.

Caregivers are the real gems. They’re a combination of companion, friend, helper, a friendly ear and much more. Be diligent and you’ll find the right person for the right job!

This article was written by Andrew Mastrandonas, Co-founder & CEO of Pillar ( and reviewed by Dr Lim Geng Yan (M.D). Pillar provides a range of elderly home caregiving services, sending trained and certified professional caregivers and nurses to clients’ homes. For more information please visit