Who needs care?

Who needs care? Who receives care? Who gives care? Who is getting benefits?

When I first thought about care- care giving- care receiving, I thought about the people who need care. Old people, Kids, disabled people. People who are helpless without us „normal“ people helping them, I thought. But there are a lot more ways of caring. Everyone has a disability (translating it to german its also: Unfähigkeit, Inkompetenz, Unvermögen- i think these words are really important to know when you speak about Disability). I need your care/help when I need to lift up heavy things, when I have personal problems, when trying to deal with soldering in the workshop, when I fail to motivate myself, and heaps of other things. I do have problems and I want someone to care about me.

Caring is always an interaction between two or more people. And no matter if you are the care giver or receiver you are always getting benefits.


Hello and welcome, @christineoehme!

This is a recurring theme in Edgeryders. The whole social cohesion industry is based on the notion of “vulnerable groups”. People belong to such groups if they bear the markers of some kind of disadvantage, for example the dark (or light) skin of an ethnic minority, or a physical or mental disability. Belonging to vulnerable groups can be temporary: for example, there is a group called “the unemployed”, thought to merit special care, even though no one is born into this group.

Like many people around here, I dislike the notion. There are two problems:

  1. Labelling. People are included in a "vulnerable group" by somone sticking a label on them. I am a migrant. You are a female. He is transgender. The labels are not incorrect, but they imply that my having migrated is what is important about me. When providing care, the label will be inspiring the design of the services that target me.
  2. "Representative agent". Once they have a group to service, care providers set up services with the average component of that group in mind. This activity misses out on the richness of human diversity, and it usually ends up mass-producing services that suck.

Right now, we are seeing the damage done by this concept in the so-called migrants issue in Europe. A Syrian doctor (or engineer, or carpenter) is labeled a refugee and stuck in a camp, where another doctor (European) will assess his health. He might be ten times more experienced than his European colleague, but he is not allowed to diagnose himself and others because – guess what – in that context he “is” a not a doctor, but a refugee.

@alex_levene told me a funny-heartbreaking story from The Jungle (check out his post, it’s really interesting). He talked to an Afghan guy in the camp. He fled Afghanistan because he is an atheist, and that’s led him to trouble. He wants to live in a place where agnosticism is common, bigotry can’t touch him and nobody cares what you pray to. And there he is, in a refugee camp, surrounded by muslims, and everyone goes to great lengths to do everything in a way that will work for muslims. They assume that, since he is Afghan and the average afghan is muslim, he must be muslim: when in fact he is persecuted by muslims.

We are all broken and emotionally damaged.

Hi @christineoehme and welcome on board! You might want to read @dennis on this same approach - learning about not belittling anyone through language or actions (even unintended). His story is called A New Chapter in Other People’s Story Books

Your intuition about needs we all have is also spot on. I was reading the other day a telling piece on Medium explaining how “most humans alive right now are broken. Our communities have been stripped of gathering places. We find ourselves isolated and alone, with heads in the digital cloud and eyes fixed to the screen. We are not ready to look one another in the eye. The shame we feel as we strive to do everything right (the way we were taught) — as we fail to get jobs, are unable to keep up with growing rental prices, and are displaced increasingly from our homes — that shame and humiliation is why we don’t come together.” (source)

The author’s thesis is that we can’t provide care for others until we regenerate ourselves. I have to say, I find it hard to disagree. Any thoughts?

@christineoehme being the only therapist I could find in OpenCare id like to get your opinion about what would be the best way to access and invite people with certain physical disabilities to partecipate in active selfrehabilitation like WeHandU?

And also how we could get a local physio onboard?