Caring is a verb – so says my sister Diane Carter

My older sister is a nurse who has devoted her life to caring for the elders of our society. She started out as a Candy Stripper in her teens, and eventually became the President, CEO and founder of AANAC, a national organization for nurses who work in long-term care. She received recognition by Long-Term Living Magazine as one of the ten most influential people in the past 40 years in the field of long-term care, for her visionary work in recognizing the power of the Internet and Web-based learning and the creative force behind the development of the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination.

For the past few years she and her husband have taken on most of the care for my 89 year-old Mom, who is in assisted-living. Before that she also cared for my Dad until his death at age 91. My sister Diane knows long-term care. She is the best person in this country to be providing these services to my parents.

What Diane finds most unforgivable in those who work in the field of long-term care is when they don’t seem to understand that caring for someone is a verb. It isn’t talking about what they need or how to get it, it is stepping in to help them get what they need and cannot access for themselves, or in some cases, don’t even recognize that they need. My Mom became ill this past week, stopped go to her regular activities and was coughing quite a bit. Nobody showed concern or called Diane to tell her that Mom was feeling poorly. This made Diane mad.

What does caring mean?

According to the OED, caring is displaying kindness and concern for others. It is the work or practice of looking after those unable to care for themselves, especially the sick or elderly. The example given is the “caring” professions.

How do we show we care about those we love? By actions to help them feel better. When I’m in here coughing my head off, Mike makes me some Breath Easy tea. When I’m dizzy he helps me with my balance. This is love and caring. This is something we can all learn about love. LOVE is also a verb!

You may see love as flowers, chocolates and lovely words around Valentine’s Day. It is so much more!


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