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What Does a Caregiver Do in a Nursing Home?

Dear Allegra,

From the time I was in junior high and volunteered at a local nursing home, I’ve always liked working with the elderly. I’m currently completing a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program at a local community college. Since I’m almost finished with the program, I’ve been starting to explore what nursing home caregivers do and look for nursing homes that are hiring.

Before I decide what type of senior care to work in, I’m trying to learn more about what caregivers do. Since you are so familiar with all types of senior care, I’m hoping you can give me a realistic idea of what nursing home caregivers do in a typical day.

Your insight would be so helpful and much appreciated!



Working in a Nursing Home

Dear Kristen,

Congratulations on nearing the end of your training program! I’m sure you are excited to get started in your new career, especially given your history of volunteer work with older adults.

Nursing home caregivers play a vital role in resident care and happiness. Because caregivers provide hands-on support to residents every day, they often develop close relationships with not just their residents but the family members too. Many caregivers say these jobs are very fulfilling.

In a typical day, a caregiver in a nursing home may find themselves performing tasks such as:

  • Helping a resident take a shower or bath and wash their hair
  • Assisting with hair care and styling
  • Helping a resident decide what to wear and assisting them in dressing
  • Transporting a resident to and from the dining room
  • Helping with toileting needs or continence care
  • Encouraging a resident to attend a wellness program and assisting them in getting to the class
  • Reviewing the monthly activities calendar to see what the senior might want to attend
  • Notifying the nurse if you spot changes in a resident that might indicate a problem

Because nursing homes operate around-the-clock, you will likely have a choice of which shift you want to work. Some nursing home caregivers like the daytime hours where residents are busy and families visit most. Other caregivers like the peacefulness of the evening or night shift. Helping residents wind down and prepare to sleep is very rewarding too.

If you are also contemplating working for a home care agency, you may find the “Available Jobs” database on our Caregiver Resource site to be a useful search tool. You can use it to locate in-home caregiver jobs with Griswold Home Care across the country.

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide, Kristen!

Kind regards,