Rethinking The Term 'Caregiver'

Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via The Caregiver's Living Room
The Caregiver's Living Room
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

“'Caregiver' is a problematic word for lots of reasons,” says Donna Thomson. She reflects on why many people do not identify with the term ‘caregiver’.

african american hands clasped together; two people holding hands

Donna feels as if the term ‘caregiver’ seems to betray the love and loyalty that a family member feels towards the loved one that needs their help.

“The word amplifies the dependency and helplessness of our loved one - the very person whose dignity we are attempting to protect by minimizing the visibility of their needs.”

Donna states that if we want to build a society in which caring is valued and supported, perhaps we should re-think the meaning of a ‘caregiver’. She references Rajiv Mehta, founder and CEO of the care mapping tool The Atlas of Caregiving.

Rajiv compares caregiving to cooking. Donna writes, “Rajiv says that caring is like cooking. We all cook. But some people are professional cooks while others simply heat up pre-prepared food. There are home cooks and gourmet cooks.” She continues by stating that food preparation is influenced by our culture, memories, and family relationships. Caring is the same.

“It is an activity that we all participate in, one way or the other. Caring is part of life, not separate from it.”

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