Advocacy is about helping you to speak up for yourself, to make sure that your views and opinions are heard and understood. If you find it hard, or you are unable to speak for yourself then you may find an ‘Advocate’ who can help you.
An advocate should be free from conflicts of interest with those providing services to the person they are working with and should represent the other person’s interests as if they were the Advocate’s own. An advocate should help redress the balance of power when the older person is dealing with professionals and institutional bodies.
Do you have something to say? Would you like help to say it?
There are five main ways you can do so. You can:
- Talk for yourself. (Self-advocacy).
- Ask a volunteer to talk for you.
- Ask a legal expert, such as a solicitor, barrister or legal advice worker. They can also speak for you at a tribunal or in court. (Legal advocacy).
- Join a group. The group can work together to support and speak up for you and other people who have similar concerns. A group can express your point of view in places such as committees, forums and meetings.
- Ask a person who has had a similar experience to you to talk for you. (Peer advocacy).
It can sometimes be quiet daunting for an elderly resident of a care home to speak up. Whether they are in a care home in Bromley or Birmingham, it is important that the care home has the right channels for communication. Residents should ideally be able to promote self-advocacy, or at least be able to converse with their peers about any concerns or issues they may have. If you want to find out more about advocacy services, the national advocacy charity, OPAAL is an excellent starting point.