Who Cares? Disagreeing with the Grammar Police

So yes, the title to this tip is a little misleading. But bear with me while I make a point. Because what I’m really addressing can make a big difference in perception. It’s a correction in the way we use words.

It originally came from my dad who corrected me years ago. Always a stickler for usage, he brought me up short – and he was absolutely right!

We were discussing what I considered to be his excellent care of my mother who had Alzheimers. I told Dad how very thankful my sisters and I were that he was such a great caretaker for Mom.

Dad’s reply was, “I am not a careTAKER. I am a careGIVER. There’s a big difference.”

Whoa. It took a mere split second to hear that difference between TAKER and GIVER – and my uses of those terms was forever changed. When it comes to caring for someone we love, careGIVER seems so much more appropriate!

The Grammar Police

However – in most cases the grammar police don’t see it that way. I looked on a half dozen grammar and dictionary websites, and they all pretty much call those two words synonyms. Based on my own experience – and reaction to Dad’s correction – I disagree with them wholeheartedly.


I see a big difference between GIVING and TAKING. Therefore I see a big difference between careGIVING and careTAKING.

As stated on this site many times before – perception is everything! And I would bet that if you called the loved ones of patients you work with “careGIVERS” instead of “careTAKERS” – it would be far more positively received.

So that’s today’s simple lesson… Give it some thought and see how you want to use those words. The contrast might even spark a conversation between you and your clients and their loved ones.

Thoughts? You’re welcome to post below, of course.


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