6 Caregiving Advocacy Tips I’m Learning All Over Again
The 6 caregiving advocacy tips I’m learning all over again come with compliments from my mom. She’s 92 and still teaching me life lessons by the bucketful. She’s experienced some health challenges over the past few months, so we (my older sister, younger brother, and me) to advocate on her behalf.
This isn’t my first advocacy rodeo. My husband and I were thrust in to that role in 1982 when our firstborn was diagnosed with a life-threatening birth defect. We were his voice and his caregivers for 4 intense and sometimes terrifying years until his health stabilized. During those years we gradually discovered 6 caregiving advocacy tips. They worked on his behalf then, and they’re working on Mom’s behalf now. Which goes to show, as I’ve said before, that caregiving is caregiving is caregiving.
Write everything down. From the beginning of whatever health issue you’re dealing with. A sentence or 2 may be all you need, along with the date, to keep track of what’s happening. How your loved one feels. Vitals. Conversations with medical personnel. Voice mails left. Record everything, preferably in an electronic format so it’s easy to copy, send, update, and resend as needed.
Be a squeaky wheel. One advantage to writing things down is that you know when someone hasn’t returned your call or email after a day or two. Or an hour or two, depending on the urgency of the situation. Because you have it written down, you know when it’s time to become a squeaky wheel. In other words, call again after a reasonable amount of time. “Reasonable” could be a day or two after someone promised to get back to you. Sooner only if the situation is urgent. If your second call or email doesn’t garner a response, become an even squeaker wheel with daily calls or emails. During all of this, keep recording everything.
Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream series for parents of kids with special needs. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. She’s also the creator and host of the Different Dream website. Sharing Love Abundantly With Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and at Amazon.
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