“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Serving as an advocate for someone you love is probably one of the greatest honors – and responsibilities – you’ll have as a family caregiver. It means completely comprehending the other person’s wishes and needs, and communicating them to people who can help make sure they’re fulfilled. But knowing how to advocate for seniors effectively isn’t always easy.
If the role seems daunting and possibly more than you feel equipped to handle, there are a number of things you can do to bolster the skills you’ll need to be successful.
Observe. It may seem to go without saying, but with a lot of issues competing for your focus, it can be easy to pay less attention than necessary to subtle shifts in a senior’s behaviors, condition, or mood. It is helpful to first make sure your own self-care needs are met so you’re sharp and well-rested. Then put into practice a system to record and share notes with any other members of the family or friends who are in close communication with the senior loved one to make sure to detect any changes.
Communicate. Effective communication with medical, legal, or financial experts is a must to successfully advocate for a senior. Because these professionals are incredibly busy, keep your communication style clear, concise, and to the point. Bring notes so you’re certain to cover all the bases. Remain respectful, and keep in mind that listening is as imperative to good communication as speaking. And, thank the professional for hearing you out and for their assistance in coming to the best resolution.
Learn. Continue to understand the particular health condition(s) a senior loved one is dealing with, along with ageing in general, and legal/financial matters. While you find out more, it’s very likely that additional questions will surface. If you cannot get the answers you require from one professional, try another trusted source until you have the understanding needed.
Be tenacious. Advocating for a senior family member successfully has been referred to as serving as “chief bulldog.” This means giving it your all, looking for creative solutions to challenging problems, always with the senior’s best interests at heart. Be ready for frustrations to arise, and to have to advocate for what your loved one needs!
Above all, keep an optimistic frame of mind, and surround yourself with a strong support system, including the senior care team at Serenity Home Care. As a leading provider of home care assistance in Victoria and the surrounding areas, we are here to partner with you to ensure the very best quality of life for an older adult you love. We also provide you with opportunities to step away from your caregiving role to refresh and recharge – something quite crucial both for your older family member and yourself.
Contact us online or call 250.590.8098 any time and let us know how we can help! We offer a complimentary in-home assessment and creation of a customized care plan that will help ensure all of your care bases are covered!