The potential for dementia to disrupt communication and stories of self can make relationship based social care more difficult to realise in practice. This research explored the verbal accounts of social workers as they talked about their work. Within the accounts there appeared to be recognised language cues to reflect the implementation of values in action. According to the Oxford dictionary, independence or the state of being independent is where one is free from outside control and not subject to another’s authority. However, this word was frequently used in situations that implied outside influence on the person and or the actions undertaken. This new state of 'dependent independence' was applied by social workers to people with dementia. This use of language could signify conflict in the social work task around independence as the ideal and the unspoken worry of people with dementia as ‘risky people’. This paper highlights the ways in which language and practice can be combined to promote human rights and at the same time to infringe on them. Through exploring these issues we can provide a better work and care experience for all involved parties.