I often liken much of our Professional Advocates work here at NAVIGATE NC to what I call “Kitchen Table Advocacy.” I’m talking about our responsibility to positively impact the well-being of all those seated at the table.
It brings up a simple image, doesn’t it – the kitchen table? For me it conjures up a feeling of familiarity, closeness, a place and time of sharing, a one-of-the-gang kind of feeling.
There is no higher honor for us as Professional Advocates than to be invited to sit at your kitchen table … as trusted partners on a journey with you and your loved ones. A seat at your table also signals responsibility, because to be seated at that table means we bring something to the table.
We’re the ones listening to all, sifting through emotions or misinformation, adding a dose of pragmatism and formulating a Plan of Care.
No matter if the people seated at the table are Adult Children of Aging Parents, Elder Orphans, Solos, a Person Living With (name of chronic condition) or the Elders themselves; it is our responsibility as Professional Advocates to contribute to the well-being of those seated at the table.
We’ve written about this phenomenon, this approach to caregiving before. It remains a trending topic with us.
I consider Kitchen Table Advocacy some of the very best work we do – many times literally sitting at a kitchen table and talking candidly and honestly with folks about their concerns. It is here where the magic can occur! It is here where we honestly communicate and educate. It can be extremely intimate. Therein lies both the honor and the responsibility.
Events at a kitchen table signify that spirit of shared intent, community among all seated ‘round. Inclusive. Simple. Genuine. At times glaringly honest and real. True, and shared. Fruit-FULL.
Those same attributes carry over into the way we as a Professional Advocates wish to conduct ourselves and be regarded by others.
The beginning of the year is our busy season. Folks have gathered over the holidays and many have witnessed change in their loved ones. They have questions about what they’re seeing or what the next steps for caregiving might be. What does this change mean to the person changing and everyone involved?
For many it signals their entry into caregiving, a first foray. Several have questions about events that are unfolding and ways to handle things. It means adjusting their own lives and taking a look at what’s possible and what that will mean for their table-mates. Someone at the table needs to bring the experience for solid and frank conversation about tender topics. Professional Advocates at your table bring skills in assessment and planning as an objective third party.
Tender topics can be medical change, be they physical or cognitive in nature. More information from partners such as a doctor or an attorney may be needed. Tender also are conversations regarding money and paying for care. How much is coming in? What resources can we tap into or how might we shift things as we begin to take a look at what we have come to call “The Long View.”
These are not always easy conversations, but nearly all of them can flow freely. Most folks are encouraged to hear how others have fared at a similar juncture. We can often describe how we’ve assisted others; in fact it has dawned on us to say that “we bring the experience of hundreds of families for your use.” Could you benefit from the experience of the hundred gone before you?
We are also a ready-made Library of Resources, processes, How-To’s and What To Expect. We serve as support, coach, project manager, Good Cop–Bad Cop and a “Professional Relative” (someone introduced me as that one time and it stuck).
The image of the kitchen table is power-FULL to me because it represents opportunities. We can plan and get ahead of the game with Care Management (signaling the we care, there is care, and with “management” connoting action underway, you and I are calling the shots, all planned).
Care-GIVE-ing can carry with it every descriptor in the world. Daunting. New. Confounding. Frustrating and exhausting at times. It can also be tender and joy-FULL. It can present opportunities to grow, and it can bring a sense of accomplishment, pride and peace.
Kitchen table conversations can offer a time of learning, sharing, bonding, emotional rollercoaster-ing, log-rolling, plate-spinning, decision-making and resolve. It’s a big table! And we can always pull up a chair to squeeze in one more person.
If I or my colleagues as Professional Advocates can help you or someone you love by way of Kitchen Table Advocacy or any other kind of advocacy, then contact us to schedule a Complimentary Consultation during which we will dedicate time to you and focus on your concerns. We will discuss the matter at hand, how we’ve likely handled similar situations and ensure there will be time for Questions and Answers. We will come to you and to your kitchen table with integrity in service, wherever your table may be.
Have a seat at the table! If you or someone you know would benefit from a genuine conversation about planning for care or what to do (about this or now that-) or another concern then have a seat. CONNECT WITH US on our website or call 919.628.4428.