Reconsidering the term 'carer': a critique of the universal adoption of the term 'carer'

Molyneaux, Victoria and Butchard, S. and Simpson, Jane and Murray, Craig (2011) Reconsidering the term 'carer': a critique of the universal adoption of the term 'carer'. Ageing and Society, 31 (3). pp. 422-437. ISSN 0144-686X

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This critique of the term ‘carer’ argues that, although developed as a result of well-intentioned and socially-engaged research, it fails the people with whom it is most concerned, that is ‘carers’ and those who are cared for. The paper considers the historical and political development of the term ‘carer’ before examining research in various ‘carer’-related settings in the United Kingdom, namely mental health, physical and intellectual impairment, cancer and palliative care and older adulthood and dementia. The article concludes that the term ‘carer’ is ineffective and that its continued use should be reconsidered. This conclusion is based on the consistent failure of the term ‘carer’ as a recognisable and valid description of the relationship between ‘carers’ and those for whom they care. Furthermore, use of the term may imply burden and therefore devalue the individual who is cared for and in this way polarises two individuals who would otherwise work together. Consequently, this commentary suggests that descriptions of the caring relationship that focus on the relationship from which it arose would be both more acceptable and useful to those it concerns. Furthermore, a more accessible term may increase uptake of support services currently aimed at ‘carers’, therefore inadvertently meeting the original aims of the term, that is, to increase support for ‘carers’.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Ageing and Society
Additional Information: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Ageing and Society, 31 (3), pp 422-437 2011, © 2011 Cambridge University Press.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? carersterminology critiqueclinical psychologyhealth(social science)geriatrics and gerontologypublic health, environmental and occupational healthbf psychology ??
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Deposited On:
01 Aug 2012 12:24
Last Modified:
11 Apr 2024 00:30