The word advocate brings up different feelings in different people. I seem to have deeply inborn need to stand up to injustice, especially for those who have no voice of their own. My sister, on the other hand, is drawn with compassion to the person hurting.
The two of us made a great team in helping my Dad as he was no longer able to speak up for himself. I hope that you are finding a team to support both you and your loved one as you are on this journey of caregiving.
Another person on my Dad’s team was his wonderful doctor.
During most of our journey, I would not have described Dad’s doctors as wonderful. We more often than not felt unheard and pushed aside as we tried to advocate for him.
If you find yourself in this place with the doctors you are currently working with then find new doctors. Again, if you don’t feel that your loved one’s doctor is on your team then you need to find a new team member.
It really can mean the difference between life or death.
Dad had successful surgery for melanoma in 2013 but developed MRSA after surgery. After this struggle with infection, it seemed to become a consistent problem. My sister and I would see symptoms of him getting sick and pursue medical help, before it laid him out completely, only to be told he was fine. But within days he would be far from fine and it would take quite some time for him to bounce back.
It was so frustrating. We dealt with the same thing time and time again, until we found a doctor who listened to us and respected that fact that we knew Dad well and she could trust us. The last few years of his life were thankfully much easier on all of us.
This is just one example of being an advocate as a caregiver, there are many more.
Being your loved ones’ advocate is one of the most important roles you will play as a FAMILY caregiver!
How have you found yourself being an advocate for your loved one? Do you find it easy? I would love to hear how you handle your role as an advocate.