Sunday, December 13, 2009

Care Recipient? No, That's My Mom!

I heard someone talking on the radio this weekend, I am not sure who it was, but I believe she was a caregiving professional. She referred to those we care for as a care recipient, which of course means a person who receives care. But the sound of that seemed to me to be very sterile, indifferent...even cold. We who are caregivers, are giving that care to our mom, our dad, our son or daughter, or some other family member, even a friend. They are not 'recipients' to us, they are people we love, and in many cases are losing. To give them a label such as 'care recipient' is to me, less then tender or caring concerning, not just our feelings, but certainly the feelings of those we care for should they be able to understand that label. I apologize if I offend anyone in this statement, but I had to share how I felt about it.


  1. Hi, Donna! Yes! I do remember you! I decided to respond to your note on this post as I was scanning through your journal; you've got several excellent, well written posts, by the way! I'm excited for you that you've graduated...I remember that one essay you published while I was at DailyStrength that so impressed me. I'm pleased to see that you're continuing talking about your relationship with your mom, your views on aging and your journey with your mom.
    I chose this post through which to contact you because, I have to admit, I am guilty of using "care recipient", a lot. In fact, I've been using it so long that it's possible the media picked it up from me (snickering here). You might be surprised to know that I agree with you about the use of the phrase. It's much too clinical...which is why I used it interchangeably with a lot of other phrases. All in all, this essay reminds me of my rant against the word "respite", which also grates on my nerves, and which I still, regrettably and on occasion, use. Good call on "care recipient". It does tend to sanitize the very real, often messy and always heartfelt relationships that people have with those for whom they care, under any circumstances.
    I was also thrilled to hear that has noticed you and solicited your wisdom. Excellent!
    I'll be reading through more of your blog as the days go by...and listing it, as well, in my links, once I get a sense of it. I'm, you know, hmmm...struck, deeply, to learn that your mom's on hospice (my mom and I LOVED hospice) and so glad to know that she, you and your husband are living together, now. I know from my mom's and my experiences, living with people who love and care for you is the way to keep living until time is up. I hope that your journal, mine and many others, out there, make this so obvious that it becomes automatic wisdom and action before too many of us baby boomers cross the line where interdependence becomes much more important than independence.
    Thank you for contacting me, Donna! When I list someone, I always post a write-up of the journal. I'll let you know when I've read through your posts and have listed you.
    Carry on!

  2. I was on blogtalkradio Sat. with Denise from, but before that I was listening to what I believe was a previous show, and that individual was talking about caregiving, but she used the term care recipient, and something inside me had that kind of dull thud, no that is not right, that is not what mom is. So, I had to write it down. I am sure others like you and I feel the same way about such sterile terms being assigned to those we love and care for.
    Thanks so much for commenting, I value your comments and input!