Are you ready for the first letter within the acronym ACTION? It stands for Advocate.
What definition comes to mind when you think of that term? As a verb, you likely summon the idea of defending. As a noun, you conjure a person who supports or pleads in favor of another.
True. Yet, I’m not entirely using Advocate in the same context as would care-giving professions.
The accepted advice is that family members must be activists intervening with healthcare and other agencies on behalf of their loved ones. An underlying assumption is that many systems are structured in order that only the squeakiest wheel gets the grease.
May I share my definition?
I have only to remember how often such championship was necessary during my father’s waning weeks in hospital. Believe you me, I totally get it!
Advocate for our purposes, though, means you create a safe environment where both parents have the floor to speak their needs with you as their mediator. Cast your mind toward children and teenagers, between whom a full-blown squabble can ignite in about two seconds flat!
Just like you need to be the “sane” one during that hormone-laden era, so too do you need to be the channel through which each parent’s truth flows as they age.
Perhaps your scenario is like mine.
Does one of your folks strive to dominate by imposing their will at every juncture?
Within my parents’ highly-structured marriage, you can just imagine how hard and long my father argued to keep my mother bed-ridden in their home right until her last breath. It simply did not “suit” to put himself “out” by visiting her at a long-term care residence nearby – despite how possible this would have been.
Instead, even as death beckoned, he maintained the iron-like reins of power in his controlling hands. Just as it had been across 50-plus years of married life, why would “until death do us part” change that dynamic?
Given my father’s vested agenda in the status quo, someone should have stepped forward to more stridently represent my mother’s “side”.
That “someone” ought to have been me as her only child. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I would have very differently handled that aspect of seeing my Mom through her transition.
Please don’t let this regrettable lesson happen to you.