“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
If you care for your aging parents, then you know that acting as their biggest advocate is perhaps one of the greatest 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 those who can help make sure they're fulfilled. Being an advocate for your aging parent is a rewarding experience, but not an easy one.
If the role seems daunting and possibly more than you feel equipped to carry out, there are a number of steps you can take to bolster the abilities you will need to be most effective.
Communicate. Effective communication with medical, legal, or financial professionals is crucial to properly advocate for a loved one. As these professionals are often very busy, communicating in a concise, efficient manner is important. Bring notes so you’re certain to cover all of 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 help in coming to the very best resolution.
Monitor. It may seem to go without saying, however with a number of issues vying for your focus, it may be easy to pay less attention than required to subtle 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 are 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 loved one to make sure to recognize any changes.
Be tenacious. Being an advocate for your aging parent has been described as serving as “chief bulldog.” It means giving it your all, looking for creative solutions to difficult problems, always with the senior’s best interests at heart. Be prepared for frustrations to arise, and to have to advocate for exactly what your loved one needs!
Learn. Continue to educate yourself on the specific health condition(s) the senior loved one is navigating, along with aging in general, and legal/financial matters. While you find out more, it’s expected that subsequent questions will surface. If you cannot get the answers you need from one professional, try another trustworthy source until you gain the understanding needed.
Above all else, try your best to stay optimistic, and build a strong circle of support for you and your aging parent, including the aging care team at The Care Company. We are here to partner with you to ensure the absolute best quality of life for a senior you love. We also provide you with the chance to take a break from your caregiving role to refresh and recharge – something quite crucial both for your older family member and yourself.
If you are a caregiver to aging parents in Toronto or the surrounding areas, give us a call at (416) 422-2273 or contact us online and let us know exactly how we can help! With our services, we offer a no cost in-home consultation and creation of a customized plan of care that will help make sure all of your care bases are covered!