“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 aging care advocate for an older adult you love is perhaps one of the greatest honors – and responsibilities – you will have as a family caregiver. It means fully comprehending the other person’s wishes and needs and communicating them to people who can help ensure they’re fulfilled.
If the role seems intimidating and perhaps more than you feel equipped to carry out, there are several actions you can take to bolster the skills you’ll need to be successful.
Monitor. It may seem to go without saying, but with so many things vying for your attention, it may be easy to pay less attention than needed to subtle shifts in a senior’s behaviors, condition, or mood. It’s 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 take and share notes with any other members of the family or friends who are in close communication with the senior to make sure to recognize any changes.
Communicate. Effective communication with medical, legal, or financial professionals is a must to successfully advocate for a senior loved one. Since these professionals are so busy, keep your communication style concise, clear, and to the point. Bring notes so you are certain to cover all the bases. Remain respectful, and keep in mind listening is just as crucial to good communication as speaking. And, thank the professional for hearing you out and for their help in coming to the best solution.
Learn. Continue to work to understand the particular health condition(s) the senior loved one is battling, along with aging in general, and legal/financial matters. As you discover more, it’s possible that additional questions will surface. If you can’t get the answers you need from one particular professional, try another trusted source until you gain the understanding needed.
Be tenacious. Advocating for an older adult member of the family effectively has been described as serving as “chief bulldog.” It means giving it your all, uncovering creative answers to difficult dilemmas, always with the senior’s best interests in mind. Be ready for frustrations to occur, and to have to fight for what your loved one needs!
Most of all, maintain a positive frame of mind, and surround yourself with a solid system of support, including the senior care team at CareWorks Health Services. We’re here to partner with you to ensure the absolute best quality of life for a senior you love. We also provide you with opportunities to take a break from your caregiving role to recharge and refresh – something quite crucial both for your loved one and yourself.
If you are an aging care advocate, contact us at (949) 859-4700 any time to learn more about our award-winning home care in Mission Viejo and the neighboring communities! We offer a complimentary in-home consultation and creation of a customized care plan that will help ensure all of your care bases are covered!