Why Seniors Need a Health Advocate: 7 Health Benefits

Caregivers act as health advocates to help seniors understand health conditions, manage treatments, and more

Seniors need someone to look out for their best interests

Visiting the doctor can be an exhausting blur for some older adults.

Sometimes, seniors aren’t able to fully understand what the doctor says, aren’t comfortable asking questions, don’t like to speak frankly about symptoms and concerns, or are too shy to insist on treatments that are in their best interests.

These older adults need a trusted relative, spouse, friend, or care manager to help them understand their medical conditions and treatment options as well as communicate and coordinate with doctors to get the best care possible.

We explain what a health advocate is and 7 ways seniors benefit from having one.

 

Advertisement


 

What is a health advocate?

A health advocate helps someone navigate the medical system.

They accompany seniors to appointments, talk with doctors, take clear notes, research health conditions, find specialists, and help manage health insurance and medical bills.

A health advocate doesn’t need to be a trained medical professional – in fact, the job is often done by a family caregiver.

If you’ve been caring for an older adult, this role probably sounds familiar to you.

Most likely, your older adult has multiple health conditions and sees a variety of doctors or specialists.

And because each doctor doesn’t have an overall picture of their health and treatments, it’s up to you to coordinate all the information and help each medical professional understand the full situation so your older adult can get the right care.

 

7 senior health benefits from having a health advocate

When you act as your older adult’s health advocate, you improve their quality of life and overall health.

That’s because advocates help by:
1. Keeping track of old and new symptoms, problems with current treatments, or significant changes to discuss with the doctor.

2. Helping medical professionals understand the complete health situation and coordinating treatments to improve health problems without causing problems or side effects. And if side effects do become an issue, working with doctors to find a solution.

3. Managing current medications and making sure all medications and supplements are reviewed on a regular basis.

4. Going together to appointments and taking notes, bringing up important questions for the doctor, and making sure critical details aren’t overlooked.

5. Taking plenty of time to explain their health conditions, treatments, and why it’s important to follow the doctor’s instructions.

6. Finding the doctors, specialists, and hospitals that meet your older adult’s treatment needs and are covered by their insurance plan.

7. Dealing with health insurance – coverage questions, claims, billing errors, payments, etc.

 

Next Step  Get 7 tips to help you advocate for your older adult at their next doctor’s visit

 

Recommended for you:

 

By DailyCaring Editorial Team


8 Comments

  • Reply January 29, 2021

    Noel Rosney

    Advocating for a Person is very important. I was an advocate for my late Father for six years. Not in legal terms but in medical and well being terms, the danger is that a Person can sign up as a power of Attorney & Advocate for their own financial gain which is cruel & heartless. This behaviour must be stopped immediately by the other Persons that knows that it is going on. The Person that is being victimised have legal rights and their mental & financial wellbeing must be of paramount importance.

  • Reply January 27, 2021

    Gina

    I have been caring for my mom & dad off and on for about 10 years now, and I know the importance of me being there for appointments. I only wish that Physicians were better at communicating with me and didn’t always seem so annoyed to have to be dealing with me rather than them. They act like they don’t have time to deal with a third party and it’s very bad patient care. They should be happy that someone is willing to care for these older people and someone can understand everything that is going on with their health.

    • Reply January 27, 2021

      DailyCaring

      We completely agree. It’s unfortunate that not all doctors understand how important it is to work together with their patient’s family caregivers in order to help their patient live as well as possible.

  • Reply February 23, 2019

    Mary

    My brother is an advocate and power of attorney for my mother. He just downloaded a form and made my mother sign it. He is receiving and spending her Social Security checks on himself. Now my mother suffers greatly at the hands of doctors and nurses, because my brother forces them to keep her alive, so the checks don’t stop coming. This last hospital stay my mother was 89. Though she begged to die, she was kept alive . She looks like a corpse. My brother has done this to several helpless citizens in his neighborhood. He eats their drugs and spends their money.

    • Reply March 21, 2019

      DailyCaring

      It’s awful that your mother and others are being taken advantage of by your brother. It sounds like it might help to speak to a lawyer to find out what you could do in this situation. Or you may want to alert Adult Protective Services or the police that this is happening so they can investigate.

      It’s awful that your mother and others are being taken advantage of by your brother. It sounds like it might help to speak to a lawyer to find out what you could do in this situation. Or you may want to alert Adult Protective Services or the police that this is happening so they can investigate.

      This article has suggestions for organizations that may be able to help (toward the end) — 6 Signs of Elder Abuse in Seniors with Dementia https://dailycaring.com/6-signs-of-elder-abuse-in-seniors-with-dementia/

    • Reply January 29, 2021

      Noel Rosney

      Mary i am very sorry for you & your Mother, this is a huge breach of trust.This is against the law & must be stopped immediately, i am sure a Lawyer would be very interested in the fact that your Mother was forced to sign a form against her will. I know Lawyers are expensive, but this not going to cease, as you say other helpless Citizens are being treated in this shameful way. Think of the terrible plight that they are in .Seek legal advice NOW. There is a way this can be stopped, best of luck.

    • Reply January 29, 2021

      Noel Rosney

      This scandalous behaviour must be reported to the proper authorities immediately as you say other vulnerable People are affected by those cruel & heartless actions which is totally illegal. Forcing a Person to do or sign something against their will is against the law. Obtaining money or property by those means is extortion & MUST be stopped.

      • Reply February 21, 2021

        Anonymous

        And you’re letting this happen…???
        Stop it now!!!

Leave a Reply