February 10, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

medical-professional-talking-to adult-daughter-and-senior-mother

“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 senior care advocate for a person you love is probably 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 are achieved.

If the role seems daunting and possibly more than you feel equipped to carry out, there are a number of things you can do to bolster the skills you will need to be most effective as a senior care advocate.

  • Observe. It may seem to go without saying, however, with a number of tasks vying for your focus, it may be easy to pay less attention than needed to subtle shifts in a senior’s condition, behaviors, or mood. It is beneficial to first make sure your own self-care needs are met so you are sharp and well-rested. Then implement a system to take and share notes with any other family members or friends who are in close contact with the older adult to be certain to detect any changes.
  • Communicate. Effective communication with medical, financial, or legal experts is essential to appropriately advocate for a loved one. Since these professionals are so busy, keep your communication style concise, clear, and to the point. Bring notes so you are sure to cover all of the bases. Remain respectful, and be aware that listening is just as vital to good communication as talking. And, thank the professionals for hearing you out and for their help in coming to the best resolution.
  • 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’s likely that additional questions will arise. If you cannot get the answers you need from one professional, try another trusted source until you gain 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, finding creative approaches to challenging dilemmas, always with the senior’s best interests in mind. Be prepared for frustrations to happen, and to have to advocate for exactly what your family member needs!

Most of all, maintain an optimistic mindset, and surround yourself with a strong support system, including At Home Independent Living’s aging care team. 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 the chance to step away from your caregiving role to refresh and recharge – something vitally important for both your older family member and yourself.

Call us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) any time and let us know exactly how we can help! We offer a complimentary in-home assessment and creation of a customized care plan that will help make sure each of your care bases are covered! Reach out today and learn more about how our home aides in Syracuse, NY and nearby areas can help a senior you love. For more information about all of the areas we serve in New York, please visit our Service Area page.