“OK, shall we get in the bath now.” This was said by one of the two young ladies who were preparing my bath at a nursing home.
“Is there room for all three of us?” I asked innocently.
I had noticed over the previous few days that “we” was used by carers a lot. I guess it was to be encouraging or they just hadn’t thought of it. But once I zoned in on it I realised that carers were asking to join me in the bath, in the shower and even in bed “shall we get into bed now?”. They were wanting to eat my food, wear my clothes, get into the sling before me and even sit in my wheelchair! “Shall we get into the wheelchair?” I suggested they might be heavy on my knee.
When I got home from the nursing home, I was so focused on it I noticed my carers at home similarly wanted to eat my lunch “shall we eat now?” and wear my clothes “what shall we wear?”. Of course, once I pointed it out, they started to catch themselves saying it.
The one that inspired the name of my site is, “shall we get dressed now?” This is probably the most common and one I have to bite my tongue not to respond to the most. Having pointed it out, one of my regular carers has become so aware of this that she will occasionally joke “We! Are going to get dressed now.” Waiting for my eyebrows to raise and then we both have a good laugh.
Then again it can be two way. I’ve become much more aware of saying to Mary on her return, “We’ve tidied up.” Taking credit for the carers work.
Language is such a funny thing; we say things without meaning to and of course it’s so easy to distort meaning. But it’s also important to be aware of what we are saying and why.
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