I was reading a great article by Melanie Reid in today’s times newspaper. She is an insprational columnist and worth following. She is in a wheelchair following an accident and comes at the problems of spinal injusry from an interesting angle. Her article on rebranding the term ‘carer’ is a case oin point. I quote:
We need a new name for these people. A strong, proud word that will demand respect.
A rebranding. They need to be able to declare themselves minders, guardians, protectors, special forces. Not unsung heroes, because that’s sentimental, which is the last thing the job is, nor are they champions or buddies. Attendant is too close to lavatory, and personal assistant makes their caree sound like an aspiring CEO.
Care worker is diligent but dull, like sex worker, and while caregiver is popular in the States, I think I’d prefer a caretaker. In brown overalls with a spanner. How about floor manager? Concierge? Gofer? We could hijack the word caddy from golf, and start paying carers 5-10 per cent of our income.
Or get sponsorship for the profession from Apple or YouTube: create an iNeed or an iHelp; a YouMind or a YouVital.
Or how about a Selfish Pig? A few years ago Hugh Marriott wrote a magnificently mordant book called The Selfish Pig’s Guide to Caring, in which he blew apart the myth that carers are saintly, compassionate people and declared that it was perfectly normal to get guilty, angry and frustrated, and understandable to have murderous thoughts about the person you look after. Especially if you are one of the six million who do it unpaid, for a loved one, friend or neighbour, but even if you’re one of the one million-plus who toil in the adult care sector employed on the minimum wage.
I think this sets the case very clearly and I would welcome any suggestions from my blog readers on other terms to describe someone who finds themselves in this role – not through choice as a ‘devotee’ but through circumstance.
Have a great day