Being an effective advocate for your parent

In this article, we are going to the first of two points in your parent’s later life where they may need your hands-on intervention and care.  We refer to the act of providing this assistance to a parent as serving as an Advocate.

One point, which actually is later in your parent’s Bridge of Life Journey, is serving as Advocate at Journey Stop #4.  You would normally begin serving as an Advocate for your parents after their health has declined. To the point where they can no longer stay at home and institutional care is required.  

This is the point where, for whatever reason, it is no longer working at home.  You may have served for Family Caregiver for weeks, months or even years and have given it your all.  But now the increased care requirements are more than can be handled in a home environment.  You see the handwriting on the wall – your parent needs to go to a nursing home where they can receive 24 hour skilled care.

Nursing Home Setting

When a parent moves to an institutional setting such as a nursing home, your job is not over, it just shifts.  You may not be acting as Family Caregiver any longer. But you are now acting as their Advocate.  Also, you are their eyes, ears and voice.  And you literally step in their shoes and advocate for them to make sure they are getting the best care possible.  

In a nursing home setting, it is very important to attend care plan meetings on behalf of your parent.  This is a meeting where you will discuss your parent’s case by the staff at the nursing home. And a plan of care is proposed based on the medical records, personal assessment and other information in the file.  Medical decisions and therapy schedules can be determined based on information in the chart.  However, your information as to your knowledge of your parent’s medical and personal history will be very helpful in formulating a care plan.

Meals and activity preferences are also discussed.  What food and activities does your parent enjoy?  You would know based on your long history together.  Details such as whether your Mom is a morning person or a night person and whether she normally eats breakfast. Or normally skips dinner are things that the nursing staff would have no way of knowing unless you told them.    

It is critical that you be in attendance at this meeting to give your input. You’d be able to bring up problems, ask questions and share your knowledge of your loved one’s preferences  and history.  The staff at the nursing home can and will come up with the best care plan possible. Based on their medical training and the information in the charts. But your input based on your personal knowledge will help them come up with a much better care plan.


You can also act as their Advocate by regularly visiting your Loved One at the nursing home and questioning anything that you feel is detrimental to your Loved One’s well being.

Your input, both at the care plan meeting, and afterwards, by visiting on an ongoing basis, can have a huge positive effect on your Loved One’s care.

Next time, we will discuss the other place in your Loved One’s Bridge of Life Journey. Where your intervention as Advocate can make a huge difference.

We want to be friends!

Ok. That might come off a little fast, but you can trust us. We want to help! We fully understand the stress and turmoil that you are facing as Family Caregiver – including personal experiences with burnout.

In our time as caregivers, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge that we desire to pass on. We understand the emotions involved while making necessary preplanning and caregiving decisions. Likewise, we have met many professional caregivers, as well as other family members who were thrust as Family Caregiver. All caregivers have shared the same advice – Join a community! There is nothing more cleansing for our situation than knowing that we are not alone!

We have since created Caregiver Connection. Caregiver Connection is a newsletter that we write personally and send to fellow Caregivers. It is full of tips, tricks, direction and even professional advice. If you would like to sign up, click the button below.

Please Invite Someone to Our Newsletter

Being an Adult Kid who is helping mom as she is declining can be a scary, frustrating and lonely place lacking stability. You feel like you are solely responsible for solving Mom’s problems while managing yours. Some occasional input and a community you can trust would help, especially when facing burnout! This is a way that all of us can be working together as caregivers!

Many others that you may personally know are having to figure it all out by themselves. Most of them have no community. Please take a minute and do them a favor. Copy this link ~> <~ and send it to them in an email or private message. They can click on it and subscribe to our newsletter for free.

Then they can enjoy weekly tips and encouragement. They no longer have to feel so alone in their family caregiver journey. They will appreciate the favor! Thank you for thinking of them!


Nothing herein is intended to be legal advice. These are just things that we have learned as various families try when struggling with these difficult issues. Each situation is unique and requires specific professional assistance to resolve. Please contact your local medical or legal advisors to seek assistance in preplanning and appropriately resolving issues for your family.

Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!

About the Author

Doug & his wife Cindy have not only helped hundreds of families with their estate planning and elder law needs over the years, but have personal experience as caregivers and advocates for their Loved Ones as well.

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