Just as your parent would do anything for you, the feeling is likely mutually – so who better to advocate for your parent’s health than you? We are here to help you figure out the most effective way to look out for your parent’s best interest.
As a caregiver, you are likely charged with the responsibility of finances, cooking meals, running errands, cleaning the house, and taking your elderly parent to doctor appointments. It can be overwhelming to know that your parent’s well-being lies solely in your hands. Keeping up with caring for your parent can cause severe caregiver burnout. We have compiled some tips to prevent burnout by learning how to care for your loved one more effectively.
Tips to Aid Your Advocacy Role
As a health advocate, your role is to ensure that your loved one is being treated properly and carry out their wishes. If caring for your parent doesn't come as naturally as you had hoped, don't worry – do the best you can. Your desire and eagerness to help is the first step; being a health advocate is a skill that can be learned.
Research. In some instances, parents feel that giving insight about their health condition can be burdensome to their children. Therefore, knowing your parent’s health history may require a little digging. First, start by gaining authorization to your parent’s health records. Second, keep a lookout for changes in your parent’s mood, weight, and appetite – these can all be indications of health conditions. Lastly, express your love and concern to your parent and inform them of how important it is for you to look after their health.
Your research may also require further inquiry if your parent’s health appears to be deteriorating. Pay attention to the treatment that your parent receives from his/her doctors and caregivers. If they are not being cared for properly, consider making changes to find more suitable providers.
Get Help. Taking on the role of full-time caregiver can be difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Home Care Assistance can provide in-home care for your senior parent. You can share your responsibilities and relieve some pressure from your shoulders. There’s no reason that you have to be the only person looking out for the best interest of your parent.
Remain Consistent and Driven. Find what motivates you and stick with it. Sometimes, persistence is the only way that we can be successful. If you find that your parent is acting out of the ordinary, don’t let others brush it under the rug. No one knows your parent better than you do, so stay confident in your advocacy.
When things don’t go as planned whether it’s legal or financial setbacks, don’t take no for an answer. Stay driven to get your parent’s estate in order. Seek professional advice in areas that you are less knowledgeable about.
Keep in mind that your senior loved one is counting on you. Remember your health is just as important as theirs, so in order to remain consistent in their lives, you must stay mindful of your own health too. Join other caregiver communities and seek out emotional support when needed. Do your best to resist burnout by taking time for yourself.
Communicate. The only way that you can advocate for what your parent is by understanding what their needs are. Communication is vital in doing so. Talk to your loved one to get and clear understanding of what they want and how they feel. While you may have to do for your parent far more than you do for other adults in your life, it's important to keep in mind that your parent is not a child and they can tell you what they want. Do your best not to push your personal agenda and listen to their concerns. You can do this be questioning. Doing so allows you to consider their thoughts when you are making decisions.
If your parent battles with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you may be faced with more challenges when it comes to communication. If this is the case, keep your questions simple. Try not to overwhelm them with more than one thought at a time and ask questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.”
Remember Your Purpose. Always remember the “why” to what you do. Being a health advocate is an important role. Without you there by your loved one’s side, their lives could be much different. While you may not be thanked for everything that you do, having your parent in your life is the ultimate reward.
Finding the Right Caregiver
If you see that you are not able to be there for your parent as often as you would like, or you are dissatisfied with your current caregiver’s services, contact Home Care Assistance for guidance. Our caregivers are standing by to join your health advocacy team. We assist families with home care for their elderly parents. We are pillars for changing the way seniors age in the Edmond home care community. At Home Care Assistance, we specialize in dementia care for seniors, and we've been providing in-home care in Oklahoma City for many years. If you need a trusted senior care provider in OKC, contact us today.