Advocating for Yourself and Family
Tips to advocate for yourself and your loved ones.
Speak the lingo
Think of something you know very well; you probably have caught yourself using lingo and jargon that only you know in a setting where others are unfamiliar with your area of expertise. Healthcare and Eldercare is its own unique world, and those that provide services and educational resources within it, often talk in terms the average person may not fully understand. You may have found yourself in this dynamic at a doctor’s appointment or care plan meeting.
It is of great value to have even a basic understanding and positive association with the words and acronyms you may run up against.
Gather the full picture of both your current situation and the resources/support available to you
It can be difficult to view your situation from a different or broader perspective, especially when you are inside of it. This is where leaning on supportive groups, friends, and family members is helpful. Questions like “Do you see something I am too close to, to see?” “Do you know of any resources for what I am navigating?” or simply just asking for help on social media, forums, caregiver groups, etc. It is common to feel like you are the only one/family navigating this journey, and when you learn that there are others who have walked this path and have learned something they are eager to share with you- the whole process is much more supportive.
Assemble your CARE team
This might look like gathering the family members that are interested and capable of assisting on this journey, hiring outside resources to support you at large, both, or even a mixture of different dynamics for positive/effective communication and education. Gathering anyone who has had a similar experience they can share with you; will help you avoid making the same mistakes and wasting valuable time. It can feel scary to reach out and ask for the support you need, however you will find that there are so many people eager to share with you the path they travelled, in hopes of saving you some of the troubles they may have run into.
This can be tricky as a common question is “What do I even ask?” or “Where do I even begin?”
Using the above tips and tools, you will have a better understanding of the vocabulary and resources that may exist and be right for you. Ask questions on social media/support groups, or of your friends/family, networks, and colleagues. Navigating the care needs of your family and loved ones, is more common than you may realize. You may even encourage and inspire others to reach out for support and advocate for themselves as a result!