The definition of advocate – One that pleads in another’s behalf; an intercessor

I have been an advocate for many, many years. First, I taught special education before The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was part of Special Ed. I was instrumental in getting a few of my students into more appropriate classrooms and out of my self-contained EMR classroom.

Then, I had kids. One who was too smart for his own good, the other who drove teachers insane but they cried when he left. Again, I was back in there, advocating.

Now I’m dealing with my 86 year old dad, who is not “all there” and needs all the help he can get. This is hard. He resides in a nursing home, he has some dementia issues and there have been some problems with his care. This past week I took photos and met today with administrators, with my photos. Changes will be made but it means I need to be there checking on him. I will give the nursing home credit, sincere apologies were made and the changes have already started, for the good.

It’s still a lot of work, time off from my job, stress, etc…

I also advocate for myself. As other PWD’s know, diabetes is ongoing and again, a lot of work. The hard part is I’m advocating for myself to myself. Sometimes, I’m not so good at listening to my own arguments. I have much to learn and I continue to learn, with thanks to all of you who take the time to write about your own struggles.

6 thoughts on “Advocate

  1. It’s so terrific that you are getting some changes made at the nursing home – and that they are receptive to your “complaints”. (Not sure if that’s the right word in this situation, but you know what I mean.) Not only is your dad lucky to have you looking out for him – but so are the other patients in the nursing home!

  2. Isn’t it a shame that we have to have photos to “prove” our observations before anything is done? My mother is 88, has Alzheimer’s, and is in a nursing home only 5 minutes away from me. I am constantly there – I tell her good morning before going to work, spend several hours with her in the evening, and am back to see her to sleep; even so, her care is less than adequate. We had a serious health issue, and each concern was met with excuses. We avoided going to the state or to higher levels because we wanted to avoid escalating issues. However, nothing changed until I brought out the photos. After that, care improved; now we, as family, are looked upon as trouble makers. Why is this?

  3. Karen, the very nice thing is even with his loopy moments, my dad always thanks me. Makes up for the tougher days.Anon – My dad has been at his present nursing home for 3 years and I have been very satisfied with his care most of the time. This summer, he had some major surgery and he’s changed. Those changes have made his care more difficult. The staff that I met with yesterday listened and promised more attention/care. The changes have begun and for now, it looks good. I’m sorry you have to spend so much time making sure your mom is safe and cared for. Our elderly parents/grandparents deserve the best, not the worst.

  4. Colleen, I spend a lot of time at my mom’s nursing home because I just love to be with her. While she still knows my name and that I am someone special to her (although she doesn’t always know I am her daughter) and can make jokes and play, I want to make the most of it. Before my dad died four weeks ago, I took him every afternoon to see her and they would sit for a couple of hours holding hands and watching old Andy Griffith episodes (ask me to quote any show, any season!). It was precious time, and now that my dad is gone, I am very grateful that I was allowed to share in that special time with them. My mom is going to be taken care of because I am there; when there is a problem, I notify staff, and if the problem continues, I address the issue (with documentation and photos) with the director of nursing – I only address health and safety issues (incorrectly placed catheter, chair/bed alarm not attached, PEG tube issues, etc). I could handle it better if when I said, “You know, Mom’s catheter was placed with a kink in it when I got here today – could you remind the CNAs to check on that?” the answer were, “Oops – we’ll watch that” instead of “You just don’t appreciate the hard work these girls have to do and how little they’re paid.” I can handle mistakes – I can’t handle excuses. At any rate – my point is, if I’m always there and I have difficulties getting good care for my mom, what happens to all of the residents who have no one to advocate for them? The photos have handled my problem – now that they know I’m not making a complait without evidence of a serious issue, they are doing much better; but who’s handling these same issues for those who have no family? This is what tears at my heart! And, the truth of the matter is – according to our ombudsman – my mom’s nursing home is about the best of the seven in town. 95% of the time, I agree! It’s just that little 5% that can skew the whole picture.

  5. The things I learn! I would not have thought to use photographs to document half-a** nursing home care. Hoping not ever to need to, I’ll always remember.

  6. Colleen,I enjoyed your post about advocating. My mom is a Special Education Teacher, 25 years. So Kudos to you for all you have done through the years!!! I learned a lot from her, still do.And thank you for the Bday wishes!Keep up the good work you do for your dad. 😉

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