Or does it matter?
I have been talking to quite a few medical specialists lately and they all have one thing in common. They feel genuinely sad that people call themselves carers before anything else. They hear time and time again, “I’m a carer now you know” or “yes I’m a fulltime carer” or simply “I’m the carer.”
If we are caring for someone, what’s wrong with being called the carer? And why are the medics sad?
After all, if we are caring for someone it’s a fact that we are carers, isn’t it? This is true, but it also saddens the medics and others because most of those people are relatives first. They are either husband or wife and presumably said those words “in sickness and in health”, or a parent, child, sibling or even friend.
If we change the label of our identity and stop recognising ourselves as the loved ones we originally were, we will lose sight of all those magical years we have already had. We will focus too much on what is negative and no longer see the real person behind their illness. We will be in danger of becoming bitter and resentful rather than seek and savour a sparkle about our loved one no matter how small.
Equally, the person who we are caring for will hate the fact they need a carer. They may feel a burden and this new found title would simply amplify everything that is wrong with no glimmer of what could be right.
It’s a tough journey for everyone involved no matter what we call ourselves, but please think carefully before using the word carer. We can feel so much better by saying “I’m a wife, husband, parent, child, sibling or friend”.