When you love someone, you want to be able to support them to the best of your ability. If your loved one is unable to advocate for themselves, either because they are a child, have additional needs that impact their communication or understanding or because they have a condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, being their voice becomes even more important. These tips will help you advocate for your loved one so they can get the support and care they deserve.
Listening is an important skill and one that is vital for any advocate. Take time to listen to the wishes of your loved one and any advice given by those involved in their care. Weigh up the information you are given so you know whether what your loved one wants and what needs to happen to keep them safe and well align.
Before any meetings and appointments, take time to prepare. This might include making notes, discussions with family members or professionals and having any paperwork or finances in order. Being prepared ensures you have all the information at your fingertips should you need it and will also help you feel more confident. It may also help to research – this could be options for care or support – you are more likely to be taken seriously if you come across as well-informed.
Know What You Want to Achieve
Go into any meetings or appointments knowing what you hope to achieve from it. Be realistic but stay strong and firm so you can get your point across on behalf of your loved one. Your preparation and research will stand you in good stead.
When you go to any appointments, take a list of questions you might have with you and add to the list throughout the meeting if necessary. Making an informed decision means having all the information you need. This is not the time to be shy – use the opportunity to get the answers you need. Whether this is asking ‘Is there any financial support available?’ or ‘Which are the best places offering assisted living near me?’, be vocal. This is your chance to tap into advice from specialists, so use it to your advantage.
It can be easy to get caught up with emotion, but this is unhelpful – use tactics such as deep breaths and counting to ten in your head before speaking rather than having outbursts. If you disagree with anything, making your point in a calm and rational manner is more likely to be effective than arguing.
Being an advocate can feel like a big responsibility and when you are emotionally involved it can be exhausting. If you are finding it difficult advocating, ask family members or friends if they can support you. Sharing the load makes a world of difference and could mean you are able to do a better job of advocating for your loved one and getting the answers they and you need.