Even in times when the political landscape is relatively smooth, home caregivers may need to advocate for their loved ones or for themselves. When there is great activity in political situations, whether local, state, or national, home caregivers may need to step up their game when it comes to making elected officials understand the needs and concerns of elderly individuals and the family members who provide care for them. With that in mind, the following tips may help those who don’t know where to start.
- Get informed. Home caregivers should utilize reputable news sources and organizations to access reliable, fact-based information on issues that may have an impact on them or the loved ones they tend. Changes to health care legislation, alterations in funding for a local community center, or modifications to state-based transportation funding are just some examples of issues that potentially might have a personal impact. Knowing the details of issues like these is important.
- Write. Sending a letter or email to the appropriate party is very important. If a local senator receives twenty letters in support of a project and two hundred opposing it, that can have a big impact on his/her decision on whether or not to support that project. Be sure to be respectful when writing to an elected representative (even if one personally feels little respect for them). The letter can be forceful in getting across a point and how the writer feels about it without being condescending, threatening, or insulting. If home caregivers are unsure of who their elected representatives are, quick online searches can usually turn up their names and appropriate contact information.
- Call. Phone calls often carry even more weight than a letter, especially if an issue is time-sensitive. The drawback with phone calls is that they need to be short and well-focused. If the aid that speaks with a home caregiver wants to speak at length, that’s great; however, most do not have a lot of time, so making points clearly, strongly, and concisely is imperative.
- Spread the word. One letter is great; dozens are better. Tell friends and family members about an important issue, and encourage them to write or call. Send a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, write a blog post, or spread the word on social media.
Home caregivers have many things to do every day, so finding time to be an advocate may be difficult. But if an issue is of importance, it’s worth it.