The Truth About Who Needs an Advocate:
Day 11 of 30 Day Family Caregiver Series
During this family caregiver series, we’ve been exploring various issues associated with family care giving. Today, we discuss the truth about who needs an advocate.
If you are a family caregiver advocate or know someone who is an advocate, this is for you. If you anticipate you will make health care decisions for a loved one, this is also for you.Click
If you would like to avoid the care giving mistakes I made, this is definitely for you. Lastly, this is for you if you think you may need care one day.
If I were a betting woman, I would bet most people don’t think about having an advocate. The truth is EVERYONE needs an advocate…before something happens. Here are some ways to be an effective advocate for yourself:
Being your own advocate at home:
1. Do you have all your legal affairs in order such as a will and medical directives? If you went through an attorney to draw up these papers, they are your advocate where this is concerned. If you want through a self-service option to get everything in order, you are your own advocate as well as the person you designate as your Power of Attorney (POA).
2. Ensure you have communicated your wishes to all involved. I can’t tell you how often families argue about what kind of care their loved one should receive, who should be responsible for what and general disagreements about the well-being of their loved one. If you have these conversations ahead of time, you minimize these conflicts.
3. If you think you may need care one day, evaluate short and long term care options now and make decisions about where you may want care before you need care. This, again, helps minimize conflicts and family stress about such decisions; which can be hard due to the inherit nature of the impacts.
4. Register your conditions and wishes with the state and carry the card you’ll receive. Medical professionals go to this site if needed such as in circumstances you arrive at an ER unconscious with no family or friends present. Keep a copy of this with your attorney, as appropriate.
Being your own advocate at work:
1. Have emergency numbers in your phone under a contact labeled: 911, Emergency, In Case of Emergency (ICE) or something obvious others will easily identify. I have this in my phone and shared it with my family.
2. If you have a condition warranting immediate care, such as diabetes, give a copy of this information to your employer via your supervisor, human resources, co-workers. and teachers (as appropriate). I’ve had many employees with conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy that let me and immediate co-workers know what to look for, what to do for them, where supplies were and who to call. This action item alone potentially saves livesJ
3. Train others to know what to do for you – ie: insulin shots, sugar pill, etc… Be sure to tell someone where these supplies are.
NEXT UP: Your independence depends on this (Day 12)
Myths and fears about needing care (Day 13)
Your Turn: Are you or have you been a family care giving advocate? What is the one thing in this post that resonated most with you and why? Are there other ways you can be your own advocate? Please comment below!
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If you missed it, here are previous posts from this series.
In the spirit of giving support and advice for caregivers, throughout this series, this series is designed to give you the tools, checklists, and information needed to effective serve as a loved one’s advocate. We kicked off this series with a top 10 list of what is means to be an effective advocate. (Day 1) then, I gave you 3 reasons why advocacy is a big deal (Day 2). Then, I shared the ultimate guide to staying organized; (Day 3). I showed you ways to be an advocate and affirmed that sometimes it’s okay to upset the applecart on (Day 4). We covered the four things our lives depend on in (Day 5). Then, we tackled self-care and advocacy (Day 6). Next, we discussed Frustration, Guilt and Overwhelm (Day 7). Then, we discussed communication with family and the importance of asking for what you want and need. I also shared some specific things others can help with as an idea of ways to get support (Day 8). Then, we discussed communication with SELF, some things to remember about self-talk and some self-care strategies (Day 9). We discussed communication with family on (Day 10).