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Caregivers and caretakers

For quite some time I have been a bit confused about the two terms, caregivers and caretakers. I think of a caregiver as someone who gives care for another person who is ill, elderly, or disabled, and I think of a caretaker as someone who takes care of a piece of property.

Merriam Webster defines the word caregiver as a person who provides direct care (as for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill). Caretaker is defined as one that gives physical or emotional care and support, or one that takes care of the house or land of an owner who may be absent.

In both terms, we use the word “care” and that denotes attention. But the other part of the words, “taker” and “giver,” alone are opposites in meaning. This must be very confusing for some people. It is for me.


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