The eldercare role is one that most of us can expect to take on, either temporarily or permanently, during our lives. The reasons for caregiving can vary, but the role will necessitate us to be advocates for our aging parent(s) to ensure that they receive the best possible care. This is important in providing care to retirees, including finding ideal active independent living communities for them.
There are multiple approaches to becoming an advocate for parents. Yet, none is more important than ensuring their health needs are met. Advocacy means to act or speak on behalf of someone. Navigating the delicate balance of speaking for and working for another can be difficult but keeping in mind these three elements can help: accelerating, slowing down, and stopping. The key elements you need to consider when advocating for an aging parent include:
Understanding Advocacy Acceleration
If there is a critical safety issue, acceleration is appropriate. When a loved one, such as a lifetime smoker, is admitted for difficulty in breathing, both they and their doctor might suspect that the guest might have cancer. In this scenario, while waiting for test results, a cardiologist might want to perform an invasive procedure to diagnose an aneurysm that they may have been aware of for a long time.
In this case, advocacy acceleration could mean asking the cardiologist to wait on the procedure until you get the biopsy results. In this case, you may not tell your loved one about the diagnosis, perhaps because they are sick and just trying to get their breath. In this scenario, the results might be that they don’t need the biopsy, so you would have advocated on reasonable grounds to avoid unnecessary medical intervention. In quality living communities, the issue of the guest’s health is taken very seriously through the provision of different health services. All associated team members must provide accelerated advocacy for the guests when needed.
Know When You Need to Empower the Loved One
When making a choice for your loved one that can make them feel helpless or hopeless, it is crucial to take a step back. In the scenario above, you might be there when the doctor informed your loved one that they had cancer. In this case, the protocol is to give them alternative treatments so they can choose which they prefer. In this case, it might be better to let your loved one decide on which treatment to take after being given an informed choice of the alternatives available for them.
Knowing When to Stop
You don’t need to advocate for your loved one for everything. Part of proper advocacy is understanding when you must completely step back and let your loved one take the reins and decide on what’s best for them. Remember that it’s their life and their body. If they are of sound mind, they will be better off knowing what’s best for them, and allowing them to choose what to do gives them the feeling of control and freedom.