Getting Seniors the Help They Need
Doctors appointments, recommendations, medications, insurance, advice, costs – these are just some of the things that we have to keep track of in regards to medical care. For some seniors, this can be difficult, especially if they suffer from confusion, memory loss, or problems with communication. Caregivers can then be depended on to help keep track of this information and ensure seniors get the care they need.
Age UK defines what an advocate is. “The role of an advocate is to offer independent support to those who feel they are not being heard and to ensure they are taken seriously and that their rights are respected. … An advocate does not represent their own views but amplifies that of the person they are supporting.”
How do I advocate for my senior?
An advocate helps someone understand the process, keep information straight, and, most importantly, care about the person they are advocating for (John Hopkins). Caring is core to advocacy. Caring about someone’s health and well-being will lead you to ask the deeper questions, see out all opinions and research, and ensure that a person is cared well. A good advocate needs to be organized and have good social skills in order to work with other professionals to ensure good care. Advocates give of their free time to help their senior – dedicating to transportation, appointments, and more.
- Coordinate with insurance companies like Medicare, Medicaid, and private policies
- Help organize and and transport to appointments, tests, and procedures
- Track and manage prescriptions including refills and correct dosages and making sure they are taken correctly
- Research therapies and treatments, facilitate discussions with health professionals
- Help ensure POA, DNR, and wills are correct and in place.
- Can be paid, volunteer, friend, spouse, family member
- Paid professional advocates can also:
- Provide assessments and recommendations for care
- Assistance with appropriate housing and transitions
- Review medical bills and insurance bills for accuracy
- Identify and secure community services: meals on wheels, transport, adult daycare
- Ensure paperwork for services is handled and filed correctly (Love to Know, Institute on Aging)
Options for free advocacy
Paid advocates are not always feasible in all situations. Local senior centers can often help with some problems. They are familiar with local services and even offer some community meals, transportation, community education, and other services free or of low charge (National Council on Aging).
Seniors also need daily personal health advocacy. This involves routine checks on health, weight, mobility, prescriptions, nutrition, mind and spirit. Being familiar with your senior allows you to be a better advocate to professionals.
One of the most important ways to advocate for your senior daily is helping with medication. At times there are things with can keep seniors from properly taking their medicines.
- Memory: help find ways to remind them to take medications like notes, alarms, pill boxes.
- Vision: ensure they have labels in large print is needed to ensure they can read correct dosing instructions.
- Hearing: Ensure they are hearing instructions correctly when explained by a doctor or pharmacist.
- Dexterity: Can they open the bottles easily and are the pills pre-split? Do they need your help administering eye drops or inhaled medications?
- Swallowing: If swallowing is difficult consult about alternate forms for medication administration (Family Caregiver Alliance)
Safe @ Home is proud to help our clients and families advocate for good care. We work with a variety of professional advocates as well to ensure every client has all their needs met! For more information on our services, contact us today!