The ticket to success in Being An Advocate is knowing the ladies at the front desk. They may not always be ladies (although I’ve never seen a fella there) and it may not always be a front desk – but let me tell you what I mean.
Get to know these folks by their first name and be nice!
- Receptionist and scheduler at the doctor’s office (all the doctors that work with your elder)
- Billing department folks at the doctor’s office
- Receptionist at your elder’s care facility or residence (or the person that answers the phone)
- Front desk folks at the dentist’s office (billing dept. too)
- Rx tech at the Pharmacy desk
- Driver for your elder’s residence or the bus driver for the senior transit program
- The housekeeper who cleans your elder’s apartment/room/condo/house
- The reception desk folks at any service provider that your elder visits regularly
Why? Well, these folks can move mountains for you when you need them to:
- make an appointment or reschedule an appointment
- pave the way to keeping an appointment if you are running late
- help you get through to someone in the organization who is hard to reach
- get a billing error resolved (you know this happens almost every time!)
- identify prescription issues, renewals, delivery needs
- make a special trip to help your elder get to the right office or other location (not just a drop-off)
- do a special cleaning task that your elder won’t request
- tell you the truth about a situation when they trust you
- help your elder wade through paperwork when you can’t be there
- call you after an appointment to update you on the results of a visit
- just be at the other end of the fax machine when you need something
- and on and on….
These ladies (and men too) are critical in eldercare. They are your eyes and ears. They are your arms and legs. They help in ways and in places that you cannot. You may not be a person who remembers names – but this needs to be where you make an exception.
They are unsung heroes many times.
Take them a flower, or a card, or just give them a big THANK YOU the next time you see them. It’s all about relationships in advocacy and this is where it starts – with the ladies at the front desk!