“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Serving as a care advocate for someone you love is probably 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 are achieved.
If the role seems intimidating and possibly more than you feel equipped to handle, there are several steps you can take to strengthen the skills you will need to be successful.
Observe. It may seem to go without saying, however with so many tasks competing for your attention, it can be easy 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 your own self-care needs are met so you’re well-rested and sharp. Next, implement 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 make sure to detect any changes.
Communicate. Effective communication with medical, legal, or financial experts is a must to successfully advocate for a loved one. Since these professionals are extremely busy, keep your communication style clear, concise, and to the point. Bring notes so you are sure to address all of 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 specific health condition(s) the senior is navigating, along with aging in general, and legal/financial matters. As you find out more, it’s very likely that subsequent questions will arise. In the event that you cannot get the answers you require from one particular professional, try another trusted source until you have the understanding you need.
Be tenacious. Advocating for a senior family member successfully has been referred to as serving as “chief bulldog.” It means giving it your all, looking for creative answers to difficult issues, always with the senior’s best interests in mind. Be prepared for frustrations to happen, and to have to advocate for what your family member needs!
Most importantly, maintain an optimistic frame of mind, and surround yourself with a solid support system, including the aging care team at Home Sweet Home In-Home Care. We’re here to partner with you to ensure the absolute best quality of life for an older adult you love. We also provide you with the chance to step away from your caregiving role to refresh and recharge – something vitally important for both your loved one and yourself.
We offer a free of charge in-home assessment and creation of a customized plan of care that will help make sure all of your care bases are covered! We provide dementia care to Battle Creek, MI and the surrounding Michigan communities. Contact us at (866) 229-2505 at any time and let us know how we can help!