7 Ways We Caretake versus Caring FOR others

Caretaking versus Caring FOR others

I have been a caregiver most of my life. Starting at the age of 11, I got my first aid and CPR certification and started babysitting. At 13, I cared for my beautiful sister. After I got married and had my three (3) amazing children, I cared for them. As a mother, the caring never stops and neither does the concern for their welfare. As part of the sandwich generation, I have been raising my kids as a single mom and taking care of my parents. I have made mistakes along the way and learned a LOT in my life about caregiving, caretaking and caring for others. In this article, I’m sharing 7 ways we caretake versus care for others and how to make the distinction between the two.

The Caretaking Lines are Blurry

I find sometimes the lines are blurry between what it means to “Caretake” and what it means to “Care For” someone. The lines can be slightly different and understanding the subtleties can impact our lives and the lives of those we care for. Below is a list explaining the differences between Caretaking and Caring For. Whether you are a caregiver now, know someone who is a caregiver or know you will become a caregiver in your lifetime, I hope this information helps in your journey!

If you’d like to listen to this article via my Empowered Family Caregiver podcast, check out episode 9 here:

7 Ways We Caretake versus Care FOR others

  1. When I caretake, I assume responsibility for meeting the needs of others – even those needs which they should meet without me.
    When I care for, I allow others to do for themselves what they can and should do. I do for others what they truly need me to do.
  2. When I caretake, I focus so much on the needs of others that I neglect my own needs – maybe even lose a healthy sense of what my needs are.
    When I care for, I remain alert to my needs and realize that meeting my own needs is as important, if not more important, as meeting the needs of others. If we aren’t taking care of ourselves, how can we effectively care for others?
  3. When I caretake, I expect others to live up to my expectations “for their own good.” After all, my way is best.
    When I care for, I release the perceived need to demand of others. If their behavior goes against my advice, I remain calm. I recognize everything happens for a reason and this is our respective journey.
  4. When I caretake, I often try to control and manipulate others into doing things “my way.” If it turns out right, I can take the credit; but if it turns out wrong, I feel guilty or blame others.
    When I care for, I release wanting to control situations. I give others the freedom to make their own mistakes and experience no guilt or blame when they do.
  5. When I caretake, I feel responsible for the feelings of others. If they are happy, I take credit; if they are sad, it is my fault.
    When I care for, I recognize that my behavior affects others. However, I know that it is their reaction to my behavior that produces their feelings. Therefore, I ONLY assume responsibility for my behavior.
  6. When I caretake, I see others as an extension of myself. Therefore, I prevent myself from really seeing them for themselves; I seem them for myself. I have lost my boundaries in the relationship.
    When I care for, I retain a sense of my own boundaries. I can see other people for who they are in themselves.
  7. When I caretake, I often feel tired, burdened, and resentful because so much of my personal energy is tied up in the welfare of others.
    When I care for, I feel relaxed, free, and peaceful because I have more energy within myself. I have learned that THIS is one of the most important elements in life. We must be aware of the energy we put out in the world and what energy we allow in our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual space.

Bottom line:

When I care for, I truly love others! Love yourself enough to do more caring FOR and less careTAKING.


Blessings for healthy and loving relationships,


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Tandy Elisala

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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  1. […] falls, other accidents or unscrupulous people from taking advantage of them.  I wrote a blog about care taking versus care giving and some of the information in these posts relates to this topic.   I find sometimes the lines […]

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