Of all the parts we play during our lives – protector, teacher, provider, supporter – being an effective advocate for an elderly parent is arguably the most challenging and most rewarding. When parents struggle to look after themselves, it’s human nature for children to step up and help. Becoming an effective advocate takes time, but these insights from NewAldaya Lifescapes will help you grow into the role.
Communication Is Key
Strong communication skills are essential for an effective advocate. This applies not only to communicating your parent’s thoughts and wishes to involved parties such as doctors and lawyers, but also listening to the advice and recommendations provided by these other parties. This can be difficult at first since most people’s lives don’t revolve around in-depth discussions about elderly healthcare and estate law isn’t a life-focus. Thus, these topics might be intimidating and frustrating at first, especially when you’re trying to do what’s best for your parent while feeling “out of your league.” But once you get comfortable and begin to appreciate the fact that these external parties are also trying to do right by your parent, your communications will be seamless and productive.
In any facet of life, it’s important to ask questions. And for people taking care of an elderly parent, today this is truer than ever. In fact, according to the U.S. Census, by 2030 all 73 million Baby Boomers will be at least 65 years old. The American healthcare system will be pushed like never before, and time will be precious. As an advocate for an elderly parent, you can give yourself a big head-start by educating yourself on your parent’s health and any illnesses they might have. Research relevant topics online and make a list of questions for your parent’s doctor. Involve your parent in this research and leave no stone unturned. This way, when you meet with the doctor, you’ll get the most out of your time together. Take notes during every appointment, and don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll feel as an advocate.
It’s a gross understatement to say that life is busy. Even with all the technology available to help us stay organized, there still aren’t enough hours in the day. It’s vital that you find the time to organize a caregiving plan – one that includes contact info for other caregiving team members, short-term and long-term to-do lists, and all paperwork relevant to the medical and legal sides of the caregiving plan. For documents you may not have on-hand, i.e. power of attorney and property title, confirm with the parties in possession that you can quickly access such documents when you need them.
We’re Here To Help
Being an effective advocate for an elderly parent doesn’t happen overnight. It takes plenty of practice, experience, and patience. NewAldaya Lifescapes is here to help with advice, support, and skilled nursing care as you seek to find the right balance between supporting your parent and managing your own responsibilities.