Taking on the role of caregiving requires wearing many different hats.

First, and foremost, you want to make sure your loved one is safe at all times whether its in their home or your home, a memory care facility or a skilled nursing facility. We want the best for our loved ones.

Second, we want to be able to have complete trust in any outside help such as sitters, home healthcare staff, certified nursing assistants, nurses and, yes, even doctors.

If your loved one is in hospice care whether it’s palliative or hospice there is usually an appointed person as their advocate. If they are solely in your care, you become their advocate. . .for everything.

I learned about being an advocate early-on with my Mother. From the time of becoming her Durable Power of Attorney to the time of hiring sitters 24/7.

Throughout the process of my caregiving I was constantly advocating for what was best and right for my Mother. I’ll admit, it’s not an easy task caregiving or advocating. Having to do both simultaneously can be draining and daunting. All I can recommend is to do your homework and talk to those in the healthcare field. Don’t hesitate to ask questions (nothing is too insignificant) of everyone, including the doctor in charge. Just because someone has the title of “doctor” or “nurse” doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions. This is your loved one you’re caring and advocating for. And PLEASE do not ever think your questions are stupid. There ARE NO stupid questions.

I understand that some people are not of the nature to buck the system so they do whatever they’re told. However, there are exceptions where a suggestion might not be in the best interest of your loved one. After all, who knows them as well as you do? So speak up and give your views and opinions.

A good example I have to share is a time when my mother’s agitation was escalating and her doctor kept adding medications to her regime all the while trying to impress upon me how “just a small dose” would take the edge off. I was trusting this doctor because, well, she was the doctor!  I was adamant I didn’t want her over-medicated and the doctor assured me that would not happen. But, in fact, it did happen. She had to be admitted to a psyche ward to ween her off all medications and start fresh with what she really needed without having numerous drugs to settle her down. I can’t tell you the guilt I felt because I was her advocate, how did I let this happen?

There it is, that word guilt! No escaping that little culprit of a word when you’re a caregiver/advocate.

I trusted the doctor, but what I didn’t do was put my foot down and say “no more”. Even the psychriatrist was astounded by the number of drugs she was on just for agitation. After one week in the psyche ward, my mother was more alert and smiling and being herself. The medications changed her personality and made her more irritable rather than calm.

What I’m saying to all Caregivers/Advocates is be on your toes at all times. Ask “why” something is recommended or prescribed. Read up on side effects especially if a person has any kind of dementia. Some medications for agitation are not recommended for dementia patients and can cause serious problems, even death.

The other point I want to make here is never let a healthcare professional dismiss your concerns about your loved one because of “old age”. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that from various healthcare professionals. We’re all going to age, but that doesn’t mean to write off the elderly because they consider the health problem to being age related. There are many avenues to take in helping our aging population whether they have dementia or some other health problems. Step up and have the courage it takes to be the caregiver/advocate your loved one is counting on.

 

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7 thoughts on “Caregiver/Advocate

  1. I’m going to come back and read this again because as a mother and incidental caregiver of my neighbor, I need advice on how to recover when I find I am trying harder than the one I am attempting to help and my help is thrown back into my face.

    Out of curiosity, though, have you been receiving notification of my posts recently? You are listed as a follower, but I have suspicions…

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    1. Kitsy, I am not getting notifications.
      In regards to your neighbor who won’t seek a second opinion, there’s nothing else you can do. It can be frustrating when you just know there’s another way to help people and no way to convince that person. The old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” rings true here. You can only do so much. Your neighbor seems resigned & given up to the fact there’s nothing else she can do to help her husband. All I can say is Pray for both of them. All the best my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ” Do Your Homework.” Absolute truth.

    My neighbor was grossly over-medicated because the hospital staff thought he was going through DT’s as a result of habitual alcohol and nicotine use. What his wife had failed to tell the doctors was that he routinely has battle field flashbacks in his sleep…PTSD, not DT’s. He spent the last 2 months in rehab to recover from over-medication.

    Unfortunately, after going through 2.5 months without smoking or drinking, within seconds of returning home, he lit a cigarette and opened a “cold one” and hasn’t stopped.

    I am tired of trying harder than the people I am attempting to help. Even his wife, who needs to get POA (he has been diagnosed with dementia), a new doctor, a second opinion on the dementia, etc. took my list of priorities with names, phone numbers, etc. has put away the list and does nothing. I’m done.

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    1. Kitsy, I was just reading your March blog and wanted to share a very appropriate devotional by Max Lucado. The title is Unfailing Love. If you would like me to send it to you just let me know where. I promise not to send things without your permission. Thanks!

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  3. Linda,
    I stumbled upon this post as I was looking for encouraging posts for caregivers. I am a caregiver for my dad who has Stage IV Prostate Cancer. He is currently on hospice and is receiving care from a nurse who comes 3 times a week. I appreciate your words in this post. It is so hard to build a relationship with this new staff and I am choosing to trust in their expertise while still being cautious. I worked as a hospice volunteer and a social worker exclusively on an Alzheimer’s unit for over 3 years. I know how exhausting it is to care for someone who suffers from that awful disease, and I applaud you for your faithfulness to your mom. It is unbelievable how many families came to our skilled nursing facility and left their loved one there without a visit again until months later. Thank you for the encouragement!

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