“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 a senior parent is perhaps one of the greatest honors—and responsibilities—you’ll have as a family caregiver. It means fully comprehending the other person’s wishes and needs, and communicating them to those who can help ensure they are fulfilled.If the role seems daunting and possibly more than you feel equipped to carry out, there are several steps you can take to strengthen the skills you will need to be successful.
Monitor. It may seem to go without saying, but with so many issues vying for your attention, it may be easy to pay less attention than necessary to slight shifts in an older adult’s condition, behaviors, or mood. It is beneficial to first make sure your own self-care needs are met so you’re well-rested and sharp. Then put into practice a system to record and share notes with any other members of the family or friends who are in close contact with the older adult to be certain to detect any changes.
Communicate. Effective communication with medical, financial, or legal professionals is a must to appropriately advocate for a senior parent. Since these professionals are extremely busy, keep your communication style clear, concise, and to the point. Bring notes so you are certain to address all the bases. Remain respectful, and bear in mind that listening is as crucial to good communication as talking. And, thank the professional for hearing you out and for their help in coming to the best solution.
Learn. Continue to understand the particular health condition(s) the senior loved one is battling, along with aging in general, and legal/financial matters. While you learn more, it’s likely that additional questions will surface. In the event that 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 effectively has been described as serving as “chief bulldog.” It means giving it your all, looking for creative approaches to difficult issues, always with the senior’s best interests in mind. Be ready for frustrations to occur, and to have to fight for exactly what your loved one needs!
Most importantly, keep an optimistic frame of mind, and surround yourself with a solid support system, including the aging care team at Harmony Home Health & Hospice. We are here to partner with you to ensure the absolute best quality of life for a senior you love with a full range of professional home health care and hospice services.