Helping Caregivers Transition to Advocates

However, when caregivers have acted in this role for a while, it can be difficult to see the benefits of choosing to partner with someone like a paid caregiver or a resource such as a senior community to make sure the person in their care is getting the care they need. It can also be difficult to make the mental transition from “caregiver” to “advocate.” Let’s take a closer look.

Making the Mental Shift

While caregiving can be defined as directly providing for the physical needs of someone, advocacy is more about helping others understand available resources and making sure they are receiving needed treatment and interventions. The end goal, however, is the same: ensuring that your patient/their loved one is getting the best care possible.

So how can you help families see the benefits of moving from caregiving to care advocacy?

1. Share Resources

There are a myriad of resources available for both seniors and their care partners, including AARP, the National Institute on Aging, the National Council on Aging (NCOA), local area agencies on aging and senior living clinical and sales associates. Taking the time to partner with these resources or join an email list could help your patients and their families in initial searches for information. But none of that replaces the ultimate trusted resource for them—you, their healthcare provider. Research shows what you already know: a majority of families, particularly those seeking care for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, look first to their healthcare providers as a trusted resource and for recommendations. (Brookdale Memory Care Customer Journey Survey, 20. April 22, 2021) Once caregivers have a better understanding of resources available to make the choice to move their loved one into senior living or memory care, assuming the role of advocate can free them to be a more active participant in their loved one's life.

2. Explore Options

Compassionate communication about the chronic nature of conditions, as well as sharing what you know about safety, levels of care and innovations offered by senior living providers, is key in assisting patients and families in this weighty choice. The options can seem overwhelming, particularly when having to navigate levels of care and how to pay for senior living. Look to senior living providers to assist with the details. Brookdale offers many resources to help such as this guide on how to finance senior living.

3. Be Persistent

Unless driven in response to an acute event, the decision to move into senior living typically takes time, as caregivers need to mentally adjust to the concept. Having regular conversations with caregivers about the benefits to their loved one once in a senior living community and their changing role can help. Some of the benefits to senior living residents range from periodic oversight by licensed and credentialed staff, medication management, routine physical activity opportunities and social interactions. We often hear from residents and families alike that they wish they’d made the move sooner. Knowing that their loved one is in an environment with a focus on health and well-being can bring peace of mind to caregivers and allows them to focus on what matters most: quality time with their loved one. When care advocates are in a regular cadence of visits, they have the opportunity to get to know the other people involved in resident care and can ask questions directly, effectively advocating for the care of their loved one.

Brookdale would like to partner with you in helping seniors and their families find the right fit for them.

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