ad·vo·cate / n 1: one that pleads the cause of another; 2: one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal --Websters Dictionary
When many people think about advocacy, they think about political action, such as the activities organized by AARP where masses gather at the State House to support legislation or bus loads descend on Washington, DC on behalf of a cause.
In this issue I want to urge you to consider how well you advocate for yourself. Advocating for oneself means speaking up about what you need in a variety of situations, such as family, doctors, and business transactions. Each of these situations has different dynamics which may require different tactics on your part. First you need to identify what you need, or want to say, and then how you want to say it. Good advocacy requires that you state your position clearly and concisely, without antagonism or blame. It is also a good idea to fully research the issue, so that you can advocate from a position of strength and knowledge.
Often we are intimidated by the power of the other person, or the force with which they express their position. For example, it is difficult to challenge a doctor if you think she knows everything about a health condition and you know nothing. However, no one knows your body like you do and perhaps your research indicates that many people with a similar condition have had a test that your doctor hasn’t done. Advocate for yourself by asking the doctor whether she/he has considered it. Or by asking for a second opinion. Go to a doctor’s appointment with a list of what you want to talk about and make sure it gets addressed.
Another example is in a business transaction. Are you able to advocate for yourself if a contractor does not show up when promised or leaves out part of a job you thought would be included? What about when you are billed incorrectly or get the wrong merchandise?
There are also times when you need to advocate for yourself with your family. Are you able to ask for the help you need or assert how you feel when your children insist you come live with them? Some of these situations can be really hard, especially when we were raised that it was impolite to challenge authority or speak up. But if you don’t do it, who will?
Last, I want to suggest that we can also play an important role in advocating for each other. A friend or family member can be a key advocate when someone goes to the doctor or hospital, when anxiety and anesthesia make advocacy challenging. Be the one to ensure that proper care is given and take notes when the doctors give their rapid explanations. Sometimes it may be necessary to alert family members to an area of concern, particularly if they don’t visit often to see for themselves, or to advocate directly with the friend to come in for help.
So, in this holiday season, give the gift of caring through advocacy, to yourself or someone you care about.
Susan W. Hoskins LCSW
June 2013 - Age Friendly Communities
June 2013 - Age Friendly Communities
May 2013 - Navigating a Changing HealthCare Landscape
April 2013 - Becoming Visible
March 2013 - Navigating Life’s Transitions
February 2013 - Partners in Caring Princeton
January 2013 - Men as Caregivers
December 2012 - The Safety Net
November 2012 - Going Solo
October 2012 - Documenting Your History
September 2012 - A Journey of Transformation
July - August 2012 - Gratitude & Moving
June 2012 - Diversity
May 2012- Aging in America
APRIL 2012 - TEN YEARS
March 2012 - Patient-centered Care
February 2012 - Can you Spare an Hour?
January 2012 - Challenges & Opportunities
December - Are you Prepared for Emergencies?
November - We need YOU!
October - Chocolate for Memory
September- Looking Back and Looking Forward
July - August 2011; Ageism
June 2011 - Accessibility
May 2011 - Paper retention
Knit Wits, April 2011
Lessons and Legacies, March 2011
Independent Living February 2011
Home Safety January 2011
Witness to my Life December 2010
Elections, benefits and open enrollment November 2010
Retire in 3D!
Am I Old?
Aging In America May 2010
Volunteering April 2010
Spirituality March 2010
Encore Careers January 2010
Hiring Home Care
Annual Giving by
Flu Pandemic 2009 October 2009
Healthy Memory, Healthy Mind
A Personal Perspective on Caregiving
Wei Ji: Crisis, Danger and Opportunity
Write your own obituary
Hope and Vision in Challenging Times
Medicare Changes 2008: Take A Look!
Scams, Frauds and Rip-offs November 2008
Engaged Retirement: Beyond Financial Planning
Finding Rhythm and Purpose
Spring Cleaning II June 2008
V + OA = ER (Volunteering + Older Americans=Engaged Retirement)May 2008
Spring Cleaning April 2008
Have You Had the Talk Yet?
Get Moving with FitRhythms™!
My Condolences January 2008
What Are Social Services? November 2007
Plan for the Future September 2007
The Up-side of Aging Summer 2007
Volunteering June 2007
Strategic Plan May 2007
National Conference on Aging: Let's ReThink Aging April 2007
Brain Health March 2007
Resiliency February 2007
Transportation January 2007
Season of Giving December 2006
Medicare Part D November 2006
April Hill McElroy October 2006
Civic Engagement September 2006
Change June 2006
White House Conference on Aging May 2006
Hearing Loss April 2006
GrandPals March 2006
Lets Talk February 2006
Eldertopia January 2006
Hoarding December 2005
Annual Report: November 2005
Are You Prepared? October 2005
Planning Ahead October 2005
Watch Your Language September 2005
Medicare Part D Summer 2005
Sue Tillett June 2005
The End of the Journey May 2005
Clutter March 2005
New Dietary Guidelines February 2005
Transitions January 2005
Funding December 2004
Caregiving November 2004
Civic Engagement with GrandPals October 2004
A New Look September 2004
Safe Driving Summer 2004
Food Safety June 2004
Communication June 2004
The Challenge of Giving Care May 2004
Seniors On The Move April 2004
Depression March 2004
McGreevey February 2004
Medications January 2004
Random Acts of Kindness December 2003
Civic Engagement November 2003
Reverse Mortgages Oct 2003
Emergency Preparedness, Jan 2003