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How to Advocate for Your Own Health Care: Tips for Caregivers

As a caregiver, you're one of the most important people in the world. You often put your own needs last while caring for a loved one who is dealing with a health issue. It can be challenging to know how to advocate for yourself when it comes to your own health care, but it's essential that you do. Here are some tips from Life Coach Mariam Bennouna for becoming a better self-advocate.

Don't count out a senior village

If you find that you need additional care and support, it might be time to consider a senior living facility. These facilities provide various services, including healthcare, meals, social activities, and more. This can be an excellent option for those who need help but still want to maintain independence.

Establish healthy routines

Making simple changes like eating well, getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and relaxing are all great ways to advocate for your own health. These routines will help keep you feeling your best and give you the energy you need to be an active participant in your health care. Here are a few ideas:

● Look for healthy snacks you can take to work.

● Walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator.

● Find a de-stressing activity for your bedtime routine.

● Start a new hobby that relaxes you each day.

Walking offers numerous benefits for caregivers that extend beyond physical health. Regular walking can help strengthen muscles, maintain a steady weight, and lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, colon cancer and diabetes. Additionally, walking, particularly in nature, can enhance intuition and provide a mental respite from technological distractions. While caregivers are often focused on the needs of others, it's important to remember their own wellbeing. Using tools like a walk score map can help caregivers find safe and convenient routes for regular walks, which can be a simple yet effective strategy for self-care.

Get help with smart home tech

Smart home technology offers numerous benefits for caregivers, enhancing the care provided to loved ones while reducing caregiver stress. From remote monitoring systems that allow caregivers to check in on their loved ones anytime, anywhere, to automated reminders for medication or appointments, these technologies can provide peace of mind and foster independence. Additionally, smart home devices like voice-activated assistants can assist with daily tasks, making life easier for both the caregiver and the person receiving care.

Be confident in asking questions

When talking to your doctor, don't be afraid to ask questions. You must understand your diagnosis, treatment options, and what to expect. Remember that answering questions and informing you is part of your doctor's job. Maximize the time with your doctor to get the most out of your appointments.

Use tools to organize your medical records

It's easier to manage your own medical records than you might think. Keep all of your important medical documents in one place, whether it's a physical folder or an electronic file. Doing so will help you keep track of everything and be better prepared when you need to advocate for yourself.

Assess your medical bills for errors

It's not uncommon for medical bills to have errors, so it's essential to review them carefully. If you see something that doesn't look right, don't hesitate to call the billing office and ask for an explanation. You might be surprised by how much money it saves you in the long run.

Get a second opinion

If you're facing a major health decision, it's always a good idea to get a second opinion from another doctor. This can give you more information and help you feel more confident in your decision. In some cases, even a third opinion can be helpful.

Find the right doctor

You must find a doctor you're comfortable with, and you need to know they listen to your concerns. If you don't feel like your current doctor is a good fit, find someone else immediately. Ask friends and family members for references, and research online for top-rated physicians in your area.

Becoming an advocate for your own health care can be daunting, but it's essential to living the life you deserve as a caregiver. Changing your lifestyle by walking more, investing in smart home technology, and following the other tips above can help you become a better self-advocate. But keep learning about your options and discovering additional strategies to foster your well-being.

Mariam Bennouna is a Mental Health Coach specialized in helping people with Parkinson's disease and their families. Because she was diagnosed at the age of 28, she knows what it is like to struggle with this disease starting that early in life. With her 12 years of living with Parkinson’s, she has the capacity to help people develop coping strategies, manage their symptoms, and find a new balance in their life. She believes that everyone has the potential to live a happy and fulfilling life, regardless of their circumstances.

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