Don't call me a carer!
On our website we reference the word "carer" a lot of times. This is because it's pretty much the general term that's used for someone that carers for someone else. However, we've learned that this isn't always the right term to use. Some people, although they have a care giving role, simply don't want to be known as, or labelled as, a "carer".
There can be several reasons why some people may not like to be labelled as a "carer" when they're providing care for someone. It's important to remember that individual experiences and preferences can vary, so not everyone will feel the same way. Here's just a few reasons.
Relationship DynamicsThe person providing care may have a personal relationship with the individual they are caring for, such as being a spouse, parent, sibling, or close friend. In these cases, they may feel that labelling themselves as a "carer" reduces the significance of their emotional connection or the reciprocity of the relationship. They may prefer to emphasise the personal aspect of their involvement rather than focusing solely on the caregiving role.
Stigma and IdentitySome individuals may associate the term "carer" with a specific image or stereotype that they do not identify with. They may feel that using this label reduces their sense of personal identity and implies a loss of individuality outside of the caregiving role. They may prefer to maintain a broader sense of self rather than being defined primarily by their caregiving responsibilities.
Autonomy and IndependenceBeing labelled as a "carer" can sometimes carry connotations of dependency or a loss of personal autonomy. Some individuals may feel that using this label implies a shift in power dynamics, where they are perceived as solely responsible for the care recipient's well-being, potentially neglecting their own needs and aspirations. They may prefer to maintain a sense of personal independence and agency in their lives.
Emotional and Mental Well-beingThe role of a caregiver can be physically and emotionally demanding. Some individuals may feel that the term "carer" minimises the complexity and challenges they face, reducing their experiences to a simple label. They may prefer to emphasise the broader range of emotions and responsibilities they navigate, including love, compassion, and personal growth, rather than a singular title.
It's essential to respect and acknowledge individuals' preferences when it comes to how they choose to define their roles and responsibilities. Everyone's caregiving experience is unique, and allowing individuals to define themselves in a way that aligns with their own perceptions and values can foster a greater sense of dignity and autonomy. So, are there other words we can use to describe someone that cares or provides supports for someone else? Yes, there are quite a few. However, the one that stands out for us is – Superheroes!