Thursday, August 04, 2011

what type of carer / caregiver am I?

If I was just beginning a journey as a carer or caregiver I might wonder if the information age has created a cyber-monument to rival the ancient Tower of Babel. ... Family caregiver? Carer? Caregiver? Spouse carer? Kinship care? Well spouse? Soignants? Sandwich caregiver? Elder care? Parent caregiver? Homecare? Assisted care? Cuidadores? Child carer? Companion care? Pflegepersonen? Long term caregiver? Respite care? Informal care?

Confounding any Google search for information is that we cannot even agree on the key word. ‘Carer’ is the more common usage worldwide but in Internet noisy, North America we use ‘caregiver’.

Prefixes should clarify, yet too often they only add to the confusion. Is a ‘parent carer’ a parent caring for a child or is someone a caregiver for their parent?

Millenniums from now will anthropologists determine we were a different genus and species - homo auxiliāmus  (‘helping’ man) vs homo sapiens (‘knowing’ man)? …  Now admit it, there are days it sure feels that way.

Each illness or disability should be a source of information for caregivers / carers but for obvious reasons many organizations are focused on hope and cures.

We have more in common if only as kindred spirits then any differences that divide us though undoubtedly there is a shared bond or uniqueness among sub-groups of carers / caregivers.

Certainly in many cases there are legal and/or financial reasons for proper labels.

Caring can be identity sucking. How anyone in need labels us may be secondary to how we see ourselves changing in the mirror. 
“His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name”  The Naming Of Cats by T. S. Eliot
I’m quite sure after two decades of this that outside of some expletives that Patti has never called me anything except my name.

On the other hand in the bigger picture, for a boatload of socioeconomic and geopolitical reasons the costs of caring is increasingly impacting the world’s economy. Divided by labels, language and available time are we becoming a ‘silent majority’? That would be the worst of labels.

related entries: spouse caregiver
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 
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