Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Power of Language

The organization I volunteer for supports young carers and their families. Young carers may support a family member with a chronic physical or mental illness, chronic disease, dementia or a sibling with an illness.  They might support their parents who are new to Canada who require translation services at appointments or a young person providing care to other siblings while a parent was caring for a family member. What I like about the Young Carers Initiative is that the language that is used is family friendly.   Terms like "strength based practice", "holistic', "inclusive", and the fact that the organization has always viewed the families they service to be "caregiving families" drew me to the group.  This language lends itself to the reciprocity of care that exists in most families.  Finding balance between the person who needs care and the person providing care is easier when you look through a lense that aims to capture care that goes in both directions.  There is a distinct need to balance the needs of both caregivers and care recipients in providing caregiver supports.  We need to ensure that we are not implying that care only occurs in one direction or we are further alienating the families we aim to serve. 

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“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou