The Caregiving Words We Use Matter
Last year while I was actively caring for my mom, I attended a special presentation for caregivers at an Alzheimer’s Family Services Center. The coordinator for the three workshops started off the morning with a brief overview and asked the audience, “How many of you are care partners?”
The audience didn’t respond.
I thought to myself, “What are care partners?”
Then he said, “How many of you are the primary person in charge of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease?”
Oh, he was talking about me! Then many of us raised our hands.
“Care partner” instead of “caregiver.”
Hmmm. I like the sound of that phrase, and especially what it implies. It gives the patient (or care recipient) so much more power and dignity in the relationship.
I first heard the words “care recipient” several years ago. I also prefer to use that phrase instead of “patient” which sounds clinical and detached, especially when we’re talking about a loved one we are caring for.
I wonder if the use of the phrases “care partner” and “care recipient” will catch on in our culture and the mainstream media?
Subtle Yet Powerful Distinctions
Some people probably don’t think the words we use matter, but I beg to differ. The words we say out loud, and even in our own heads, can make a huge difference in how we think and feel about others, ourselves and our actions. How we behave is influenced by what we’re thinking . . . and words are a direct reflection of our thoughts.
While on the frontline of caregiving, I heard some nurses use the word “declining” rather than “deteriorating” when describing their care recipient. A small difference in words, yet clearly a different description. If they were describing you, or someone you love, which term would you prefer they chose? One is such a kinder word to use than the other.
My strong belief that words matter also led me to adopt the use of the term “Golden Oldies” when writing or talking about senior citizens.
Some Parting Words . . .
Here is a new phrases I heard recently that I hope leaves you with a smile!
A “silver surfer” is a Golden Oldie who uses the internet!
What do you think about these caregiving words? Can you add other words or phrases to our discussion here?