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Day 28: Asking for Help

November 28, 2011

By Sarah Wells, Executive Director, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

It can be hard to ask for help. I know this first-hand. I’m one of those people who tend to always say “yes”, never “no,” and really want to do things myself. I find it incredibly hard to imagine that someday I might need assistance with tasks like bathing, toileting and eating. I don’t even like to burden people now with requests to help me with my new baby (which is silly because everyone wants to hold that gorgeous girl!), let alone support me with such intimate functions of my daily life.

Though the reality is, most of us are going to need to ask for help some day. Also, many of us will be a helper too. My organization, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, represents people who need and access long-term services and supports (or long-term care as we call it). This year, we launched a new project to provide those who need help and those who are the helpers to navigate the complicated long-term care system. Called, “Piecing Together Quality Long-Term Care: A Consumer’s Guide to Choices and Advocacy,” the publication is both a resource tool and an advocacy tool. Through this project, we set out to inform and to empower – helping consumers, families and caregivers to effectively advocate for quality care. Our goal is not to just help people find services, but to find quality services and to advocate for quality services.

Here is an excerpt from our guide that you and your loved ones might find valuable:

There are a range of advocates who can give you advice and suggestions about your care and services and answer questions free of charge. These individuals don’t work for a provider and can give you unbiased information and guidance.

Available in every state:
•Long-term care ombudsman
•Centers for Independent Living
•Protection & Advocacy Services

Available in some states:

•Other ombudsman programs

  • In the following states, the long-term care ombudsman program has responsibility for home care: Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming
  • Developmental disabilities ombudsman
  • Mental health ombudsman

•Citizen Advocacy Groups (or “CAGs”) – these are organizations at the local or state level that advocate for quality long-term care. To find out if there is a group in your state, go to: www.theconsumervoice.org, and click on “Get Help” under “Where to Get Help.”

Everyone needs help. This guide is one way we aim to help consumers and the caregiving community. Now I need your help. Will you spread the word about this resource? It’s only as effective as those who know about it and use it.

In closing, how can we help you? Email me at swells@theconsumervoice.org.

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Day 28: Asking for Help by Sarah Wells, Executive Director, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.