“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 aging parents is perhaps one of the biggest honors – and responsibilities – you’ll have as a family caregiver. It means fully comprehending the other person’s needs and wishes, and communicating them to those who can help make sure they are fulfilled.
If the role seems daunting and possibly more than you feel equipped to handle, there are several steps you can take to strengthen the relevant skills you’ll need to be successful.
Observe. It may seem to go without saying, however with a lot of things competing for your attention, it can be simple to pay less attention than needed to slight shifts in an older adult’s condition, behaviors, or mood. It’s helpful to first make sure that your own self-care needs are met so you are well-rested and sharp. Next, 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 loved one to make sure to pick up on any changes.
Communicate. Effective communication with medical, financial, or legal professionals is essential to successfully advocate for a loved one. Because these professionals are incredibly busy, keep your communication style concise, clear, and to the point. Bring notes so you’re certain to address all the bases. Remain respectful, and be aware 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 very best resolution.
Learn. Continue to understand the particular health condition(s) the senior is dealing with, along with aging in general, and legal/financial matters. As you find out more, it’s expected that additional questions will surface. If you can’t get the answers you need from one professional, try another trustworthy source until you gain the understanding necessary.
Be tenacious. Advocating for a senior family member successfully has been referred to as serving as “chief bulldog.” It means giving it your all, identifying creative answers to challenging problems, always with the senior’s best interests at heart. Be prepared for frustrations to happen, and to have to fight for exactly what your family member needs!
Most of all, maintain an optimistic frame of mind, and surround yourself with a strong support system, including the aging care team at Seniorcorp. We’re 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 take a break from your caregiving role to recharge and refresh – something vitally important both for your loved one and yourself.
For more information about our Chesapeake home care services, reach out to us at 757-640-0557 any time and let us know exactly how we can help! We offer a no cost in-home consultation and creation of a customized care plan that will help make sure all of your care bases are covered! For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.