Seven common client requests of caregivers (that aren’t on the job description)

Clients sometimes ask their caregiver to do things that aren't on the job description. In this blog, we will talk about these asks and how to handle them. It is important that caregivers understand what isn't on their description. Once they do this, they can be sure to have boundaries with their client. Boundaries help make sure that caregivers aren't taken advantage of.

The most common client requests that aren't on the job description are to:

  1. Perform intense housekeeping duties
  2. Drive client to social activities
  3. Pick up groceries and household items for client
  4. Do laundry services
  5. Prepare meals for client
  6. Help with financial management
  7. Go with a client to doctor appointments

Read below to find more about these requests and how to handle them.


1. Perform intense housekeeping duties

The first request from clients may be to clean. Caregivers might want to help out and clean. But, intense cleaning is not in their job description. Caregivers are not maids.

Caregivers help with:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

And they provide:

  • Companionship
  • Emotional support
  • A listening ear

Below are the reasons a caregiver shouldn't clean:

Cleaning is tiring

Caregivers are not meant to scrub bathroom tubs or mop your kitchen. This is because housekeeping is tiring. Caregivers need to save their energy to provide the best care they can. If they spend energy cleaning, they won't have enough to care for clients.

Cleaning takes time away from clients

Cleaning also takes time away from clients. If a caregiver spends their afternoon mopping, they will miss out on helping their client. They will spend the time they should be using to be a companion on cleaning.

Cleaning is distracting

Cleaning might also distract a caregiver from helping their client. A caregiver may forget to help the client take their medications if they are cleaning. This can be dangerous.

Caregivers are not trained in cleaning

Caregivers also are only trained in caregiving, not housekeeping. They may not know what cleaning products to use. This could put them at risk while using toxic materials, such as cleaning chemicals.Even though they should not have to clean a lot, caregivers should clean to make sure their client’s space is safe and they should clean up after meals. 

To recap, caregivers are not maids.

Caregivers should do some cleaning. This is only light cleaning that helps make sure a patient is out of the way of harm. Caregivers should also make sure that they clean up any mess that happens under their care. For example, if food is out for meal prep, caregivers should clean it up. Even if clients ask their caregiver to clean, caregivers should know when to say no. It is important that caregivers have boundaries.


2. Transport the client to social activities

Driving clients to activities is not a part of the caregiver job. Clients still might ask their caregiver to do this. Caregivers usually are not supposed to drive their clients anywhere. This should be the job of the family.

Caregivers shouldn't drive clients because:

  • They are not certified
  • There is risk of an accident

Driving clients who are sick or elderly is especially dangerous. Most  clients are sick or elderly. This is why caregivers should not drive their clients.

When asked to drive a client here is what the caregiver should do:

  1. Tell the client/family they are not certified
  2. Tell the client/family they do not think it is safe
  3. Help the client find another way to get to a location 

If a caregiver follows these steps, they can respectfully decline a request to drive. It is also important that they help their client find a way to get to an activity. It is important for clients to socialize. All people need to socialize and have friendships to remain happy.

If a client can't find any way to get their client to an event:

  • Caregivers should look for closer events
  • Caregivers should talk to the family about getting the client to social events

All in all, caregivers should not drive clients if it is not in their job description. The #1 priority for caregivers is their client's safety. They should only drive them if it is safe and they have driving certifications.


3. Pick up groceries and household items for the client

Another common ask of caregivers is that they pick up groceries or other household items. This is not in the job description for caregivers.

The reasons is is not in the job description are:

  • Because it takes away time from the client
  • Because it costs extra gas money
  • Because the risk of driving with a client

When a client asks a caregiver to drive, caregivers can explain these above points. 

If a client or family asks you as a caregiver to get groceries, you can decline. You can talk about:

  • How it is not a part of what caregivers at your company do
  • How your company has this rule because it takes time away from caring for your client
  • How leaving a client alone to get groceries is dangerous for them. 
  • How it is also dangerous to bring clients in the car for errands due to the potential of a driving accident.

If you want to get groceries as a caregiver, make sure the family pays you. For example, if you explain to them that it is not in your job description, you could offer to pick up groceries for a fee. If you do this, make sure it is not in the hours when you should be with your client. You could arrange it so that you do the grocery shopping on your way to your shift. This way, your client is safe and you are not taking away from working hours. 

Above all, caregivers should only do what they are comfortable with. This should include everything in their job description, but not anything outside. They should make sure their boundaries are clear. This will be better for caregivers and clients.


4. Laundry services

Another request caregivers might have is to do laundry. While caregivers help with activities of daily living, laundry is not one of these. Clients should not expect caregivers to do laundry because caregivers are not maids. It would be okay if a client asked a caregiver to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer as a favor. But, doing a lot of laundry is not the job of the caregiver.

Even understanding this, many clients still ask their caregivers to provide laundry services. This can leave caregivers feeling frustrated. They are already expected to provide many other services. Another issue with laundry is that many caregivers are working with limited time. Laundry services require more time that they may not have.

When asked to do laundry, the caregiver should:

  • Bring up their job description
  • Explain how they are happy to help a bit but their main job is caring for their client

If a caregiver would like to do laundry, they could offer doing it for an extra fee. This should also only happen if the caregiver has the time. If it takes away too much time from their care, they should not do laundry. Once a client figures out how much laundry they have, then they and the caregiver can discuss a fee.

In conclusion, laundry services are not part of a job description for caregivers. But, many clients still request it. It is important for both the client and the caregiver to be honest about their expectations. Once they are, they can discuss how and if the caregiver will do laundry. Clients should know they might need to hire someone else for laundry.


5. Prepare meals for the client

Another request clients may have is for their caregiver to cook. While caregivers can do light meal prepping, they are not chefs. They do not have training to cook complicated meals. Clients should not expect their caregiver to be able to do this. It is important to remember that complex meal prepping is not in the job description of a caregiver.

Many clients will still request their caregiver makes certain meals. All caregivers should know basic cooking skills. This includes:

  • How to use a stove
  • How to use a microwave
  • How to make sure meat is fully cooked

But, clients should not expect caregivers to know more than this. This can be a difficult situation. Clients should remember that they should only eat food that is safe to eat. It may not be safe to eat food prepared by someone who is not qualified.

If a client asks you to cook a meal you are not able to cook, make sure you decline. Explain to them how you are not comfortable because it could risk their safety. If you do this, clients will understand why you can't cook something for them.

It is also important to make sure your client eats. This requires light cooking skills. Caregivers should be able to do this easily. But, if the cooking becomes too difficult, caregivers should:

  • Speak with the client's family
  • Explain how cooking is difficult for them
  • Explain they may need teaching or less complicated meals.
  • Explain how the client's safety is their #1 priority.

Caregivers should remember they do not have to prepare meals beyond their training. They should always be aware of their limitations, and they should be honest with their clients about what they are able to provide. This will help to ensure the client is receiving services without putting anyone at risk. Always make sure you stick to your job, while also making sure your client eats.


6. Help with finances

Another common ask of caregivers is help with financial management. Many people with caregivers may need extra financial help. This is something that does not fall under the role of a caregiver though. Financial management is difficult. And, the way different people manage their money is very different. This is why it's important caregivers stay out of financial management. 

Some caregivers may feel pressure to take on this responsibility, but it is not their role.  Clients might ask caregivers to complete financial tasks, such as:

  • Balancing a checkbook
  • Helping with tax preparation
  • Managing investments

But these are all tasks that qualified professionals should handle. Caregivers can still offer support to their clients in other ways. They can do this by telling the family their client needs help. This is a great way to get the client help without directly providing it.

By understanding their limits, caregivers can make sure clients receive the best possible care. Financial management is an important part of life for many people. But, it is not something that caregivers should have to take on. This is why it's important they have boundaries and help their client in other ways.


7. Go with a client to doctor appointments

The last request for caregivers is that they go with a client to a doctor's appointment. Going with a client to doctor appointments is not in the job description of a caregiver. Clients may still often request it. This is a difficult situation for a caregiver. They must balance the client’s needs with their own responsibilities. It is important for caregivers to have a clear understanding of the job description. If it's not on the description, they can respectfully decline the request.

In some cases, accompanying a client to a doctor’s appointment may be necessary. For example, if the client has difficulty getting to the appointment on their own. It should be the family's responsibility to take a client. But sometimes the family might ask you to do it.

If it is not on the job description and they asked you to take them, you can respectfully decline. You should explain to them how:

  • You do not feel safe driving 
  • That your agency doesn't cover this.
  • That you care about the client’s safety so you can’t help

It is important that caregivers can recognize these situations. Then they can explain to the client why their request is not part of the job description.

We understand that clients may want their caregiver at doctor appointments. But, it is important for the caregiver to be aware of the job description and be able to respectfully decline requests if transportation is not on the list. Caregivers must be able to protect their own rights and boundaries.



In conclusion, as a caregiver, make sure you stick to what’s in your job description. This will help make sure you aren’t doing extra work for no pay. It will also help to make sure your client is safe at all times. A lot of the time, extra jobs client's request take away from their time with you. This is why it’s very important to stick to the job description.

Also, always make sure you are polite when you decline a request. A lot of the time, clients and their families may not know that something is out of your job description. When explaining, you can talk about how something isn’t and how it is for your safety or the client’s safety. Once you do this, families will understand. 

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