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 More Words on Words

Who could imagine before the mid-nineties that the word “SPAM” could conjure up clogged email in-boxes as opposed to a breakfast meat delicacy in the Philippines?  (I love the Spam Jam Café in Makati City’s Greenbelt Mall.) Or that WRITING IN ALL CAPS would be considered RUDE?  Or even that “friend” would become a verb as in “to friend” a person on Facebook? 

I believe that we are in the same place with family caregiving that the Internet was in not so long ago—in need of language rules.  And seeing your responses to last week’s newsletter, many of you feel the same way.  

I am the first to admit that the word “caregiver” is challenging since it has so many meanings:  a nurse’s aide or CNA, a family member, a parent or even a physician. Although my good friend Vicki Williams, Director of the Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living Purchase Area Development District in Kentucky (I am in fact, an official Duke of Paducah), still prefers it to the word “caretaker.”

As she states in her email:
I think we should not use the term “caretaker” even though we may “take care” of our loved ones.  I prefer “caregiver” because they “give” (and give and give more) the care needed by their loved ones.  The term caretaker seems 1) negative, as in they “take” something and 2) the same term is used for people who tend lawns/provide maintenance.

Point well taken, Vicki.

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