February 28, 2022

aging parent

These tips can help family caregivers become better care advocates for an aging parent.

“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 advocate for an aging parent is probably one of the biggest 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 ensure they are met.

If the role seems intimidating and perhaps more than you feel equipped to handle, there are a number of actions you can take to strengthen the skills you’ll need to be successful.

Observe. It may seem to go without saying, but with so many things vying for your focus, it may be easy to pay less attention than needed to subtle shifts in a senior’s behaviors, condition, or mood. It’s helpful to first make sure that your own self-care needs are met so you are well-rested and sharp. Next, put into practice a system to take and share notes with any other family members or friends who are in close communication with the senior to be certain to pick up on any changes.

Communicate. Effective communication with medical, financial, or legal experts is a must 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’re sure to cover all of the bases. Remain respectful, and be aware that listening is just as imperative to good communication as talking. And, thank the professional for hearing you out and for their help in coming to the best resolution.

Learn. Continue to educate yourself on the specific health condition(s) your aging parent is dealing with, along with aging in general, and legal/financial matters. While you discover more, it’s expected that additional questions will arise. If you can’t get the answers you need from one professional, try another trustworthy source until you gain the understanding needed.

Be tenacious. Advocating for an older adult family member successfully has been described as serving as “chief bulldog.” This means giving it your all, uncovering creative solutions to difficult issues, always with the senior’s best interests at heart. Be prepared for frustrations to arise, and to have to fight for what your loved one needs!

Most of all, keep a positive mindset, and surround yourself with a solid support system, including the aging care team at Continuum, expert providers of help at home in St. Charles and surrounding communities. We’re here to partner with you to ensure the absolute best quality of life for a senior you love. We also provide you with opportunities to step away from your caregiving role to recharge and refresh – something quite crucial for both your older family member and yourself.

Call us at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336 and let us know exactly how we can help! We offer a free of charge in-home assessment and the creation of a customized plan of care that will help make sure each of your care bases are covered!