One of the reasons why independent advocacy for older people is so very important is simply to do with how quickly we are able to process information as we age.
Just as many of us can’t run as fast as we did when we were 25, our brain cannot process complex information at the same pace either. This is normal. And it happens to everyone. In fact the amount of time required to process information starts to decrease in early adulthood – so it is unsurprising that in later life, it takes us longer to tackle complex tasks.
Put simply, our older selves need more time to think things through and make decision than our younger selves. This is why, although many health and social care professionals are very keen to advocate for the older people in their care, in their busy professional lives, they do not always have the time to sit, and listen, or to delay action whilst the older person processes their options.
Taking longer to think things through does NOT affect that older person’s ability to come to reasoned conclusions – in fact greater experience and emotional resilience that older people have acquired is hugely helpful!
An independent advocate, who is a volunteer, who has no agenda but to wait for the older person to have thought things through and be ready to take action, without any professional targets or other demands on their time, is an extremely valuable resource at times like this.
Learn more about what an advocate does here: www.opaal.org.uk
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