“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Being an advocate for someone you love is one of the biggest 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 achieved.
If being an advocate for your aging parent seems intimidating and more than you can handle, there are a great many ways you can work on the skills you’ll need to be most effective.
Communicate. Effective communication with medical, legal, or financial experts is essential to successfully advocate for a senior. As these professionals are often very busy, maintain a clear and concise style of communication. Bring notes so you’re sure to address all the bases. Remain respectful, and keep in mind listening is as crucial to good communication as talking. And, thank the professional for hearing you out and for their assistance in coming to the very best resolution.
Monitor. As a family caregiver, you will be juggling a lot, and it is easy to miss some of the small changes in your aging parent, as well as changes in yourself. It is helpful to first make sure that your own self-care needs are met so you are sharp and well-rested. Then implement a system to record and share notes with any other family members or friends who are in close contact with the senior to be certain to recognize any changes.
Be tenacious. Being a successful advocate for your aging parent has been referred to as serving as “chief bulldog.” It means giving it your all, looking for creative answers to difficult dilemmas, always with the senior’s best interests in mind. Frustrations are sure to come, but you have to advocate for exactly what your loved one requires!
Learn. Continue to understand the specific health condition(s) the senior loved one is navigating, along with aging in general, and legal/financial matters. While you learn more, it is likely that additional questions will surface. In the event that you can’t get the answers you require from one particular professional, try another trusted source until you have the understanding necessary.
Above all else, keep your eye on the positive side, and build a solid system of support, including the aging care team at Atlanta Home Care Partners. We are here to work with you to maintain the very best quality of life for the aging adult you love. We also provide you with opportunities to step away from your caregiving role to recharge and refresh – something extremely important both for your loved one and yourself. We can advocate for your aging parent when you need a break!
If you need Atlanta Alzheimer’s care, personal care, or other senior care services in the nearby areas, reach out to us online or at (404) 228-0103 any time and let us know how we can help! We offer a free of charge in-home assessment and the creation of a personalized plan of care that will help ensure each of your care bases are covered!