Client Education Recap: Residents' Rights and Advocacy

If you’re caring for elderly loved ones, you’ll eventually find yourself in the advocate role. What does that mean? Advocacy was the topic of discussion during the May 4 Learning Café for Caregiver Spouses. 

What does it mean to be someone’s care advocate? It means you are there to help, to guide, and to oversee the people who are providing care to your loved one. You look out for their well-being, their safety and their care. 

Advocacy doesn’t have to mean controversy. Some people think if they are not battling with someone they are not being good advocates. That’s not necessarily true, especially when you are dealing with healthcare professionals. They want the same thing for your loved one that you do – good care and the very best outcome. The problem sometimes, between advocates and healthcare professionals, is that the professionals work with people and their families all day, every day so sometimes they appear removed or disinterested. As an advocate, this can be a time to gently remind the practitioner that this is your loved one and their care and attention to your loved one is needed and appreciated. 

Advocacy is different depending on the circumstances of the person for whom you are advocating. It’s much different to advocate for someone living at home than it is for someone living in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. For someone living at home, the role of an advocate might include overseeing caregivers and interacting with doctors and other healthcare professionals. Advocating for someone living in a nursing home might include active and ongoing communications with the nursing staff to make sure your loved one is well cared for and as content as possible. 

A simple rule of thumb for care advocates is, your job is to see that your loved one receives the care and treatment that you would expect yourself. If something feels or looks wrong, check into it. If you’re told certain things are going to happen, follow up to make sure they do. And, please remember to say thank you to the people who do so much for your loved one. A kind word about today’s care can set the stage for high quality care in the future. 

Mark your calendar for upcoming Learning Café sessions including Non-Dementia-Related Care on July 6, Family Caregivers and the Workplace on July 18, Getting the Most from Your Life Care Plan on July 20, Trust School - Irrevocable Trusts on August 17, and When You Move or Downsize on August 22. 

Watch for invitations by postcard and email. See the complete client education schedule on our EVENTS page.~

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