The campaigns to stop bullying in schools seem to be never ending.  But I recently came across a different type of campaign.  A campaign with a positive spin: promoting & encouraging kids to be advocates for both themselves and others who may not be able to stand up for themselves.  A campaign to be an ‘Awesome Advocate‘ .

Rather than saying ‘no’ to bullying, it’s saying ‘yes’ to advocacy.  This of course is close to my heart since I have an amazing daughter, who has Down Syndrome.  And though she lives a wonderfully happy & full life, I am acutely aware of how she benefits from having a devoted advocate.  I am constantly trying to help both her, and her older brother to learn to treat & love others the way they wish to be treated & loved.  So they can be advocates for themselves & others.

But then I got to thinking…this advocacy stuff doesn’t stop at a certain age.  We don’t just need kids to treat other kids well. Because, well our individual differences transcend age.  And of course ageing brings with it a whole new set of challenges.  I think adults need to be reminded of this again and again.  Being an advocate is a lifelong journey, and it may just get a little more time consuming when it comes to ageing.

Advocate.  It means to speak, plead or argue in favor of; it’s a person who pleads on someone else’s behalf.  And they often act on someone else’s behalf as well.  This definition is especially relevant for anyone who works with or cares for an individual with a health-related need.  When it comes to physical impairments & age-related challenges, the PhysioCare at Home team understands the importance & responsibility of their advocacy role on behalf of their clients.  And we have been privileged to meet many wonderful family members & caregivers who act as key advocates for their loved ones.

Being an advocate is a big job & can include many different facets, especially when it is for someone who is ageing.  Personal Care.  Nutrition.  Health Needs.  Social & Emotional Well-being.  Home Cleaning & Maintenance.  Transportation & Physical Mobility.  Personal Safety.  Financial & Legal Needs.  It may mean helping to find the appropriate care or actually being the caregiver yourself.  Whatever the case, you can’t do it alone. Here are some resources & ideas to help you in this advocacy journey:

  • Find great care-giving resources at Caregivers Nova Scotia
    • Caregivers Nova Scotia is an organization devoted to advocating on behalf of family & friends who provide care for their loved ones.  Check out their website for a plethora of helpful resources including this great Planning Guide check-list to get you started in the right direction.
  • Learn about how to access community programs for seniors
    • Chebucto Links: This is a grass roots organization that connects seniors with varying social & recreational programs in their local communities.
    • Happily Ever Active: This organization is keenly devoted to helping people (especially seniors) overcome barriers to they can participate in quality recreational activities in their community.  They offer art, exercise, dance…
    • Northwood Programs: Northwood is taking a unique approach to keeping the Baby Boomer generation connected & offers a variety of drop-in programs like music & elder aerobics for a minimal fee.
  • Book a Falls Screening Assessment or an Environmental Scan
    • If you are concerned about a risk of falling, or any other physically related issue (like mobility or general weakness) then it is always wise to have a trained health professional come in. Call our PhysioCare at Home office to request a home visit by a registered Physiotherapist (902-404-4200)
  • Connect with a wide variety of professional services for seniors through Serving Seniors
    • When you’re not sure who to call for a required service, Serving Seniors may have the information you need.  It is an organization made up of numerous businesses that provide quality services for seniors.  It provides a directory for everything from home blood collection, dental hygiene, legal advice, foot care, funeral planning & more.
  • Know your limits & stay healthy
    • Be sure to take time for yourself.  If you’re not healthy then you really can’t be an effective advocate.  So be consistent in taking time for yourself.  Exercise, relax, read a book, go to the spa, take a vacation, rest, unplug…get re-energized for the journey!

Being an advocate doesn’t mean you are doing everything for another individual, but rather that you are empowering them (by tapping into resources) to reach their potential & use their strengths and abilities to enjoy a happy & full life.

Here’s to being an Awesome Advocate for both young and old!