“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 elder care advocate for someone you love is perhaps one of the biggest honors – and responsibilities – you will 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’re achieved.
If the elder care advocate role seems intimidating, and possibly more than you feel equipped to carry out, there are a number of steps you can take to strengthen the relevant skills you’ll need to be most effective.
Observe. It may seem to go without saying, but with a number of issues vying for your attention, it can be simple to pay less attention than needed to slight shifts in an older adult’s behaviors, condition, or mood. It’s beneficial to first make sure that your own self-care needs are met so you’re sharp and well-rested. Then put into practice a system to take and share notes with any other members of the family or friends who are in close contact with the senior to make sure to pick up on any changes.
Communicate. Effective communication with medical, financial, or legal experts is essential to properly advocate for a loved one. Because these professionals are extremely busy, keep your communication style concise, clear, and to the point. Bring notes so you’re certain to cover all the bases. Remain respectful, and bear in mind that listening is as imperative to good communication as talking. And, thank the professional for hearing you out and for their assistance in coming to the very best solution.
Learn. Continue to educate yourself on 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 is likely that subsequent questions will surface. If you can’t get the answers you need from one professional, try another trusted source until you gain the understanding necessary.
Be tenacious. Advocating for an older adult family member successfully has been referred to as serving as “chief bulldog.” This means giving it your all, looking for creative approaches to difficult issues, always with the older adult’s best interests at heart. Be ready for frustrations to arise and to have to advocate for what your loved one needs!
Most importantly, maintain an optimistic mindset, and surround yourself with a solid system of support, including the senior care team at JFS Care. We are here to partner with you to ensure the very best quality of life for a senior you love. We also provide you with opportunities to step away from your caregiving role to refresh and recharge – something vitally important for both your loved one and yourself.
Contact JFS Care, the leading home care agency in Encino, at (213) 383-2273 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! Visit our service area page to see all of the communities where we provide care.