In today’s post, Valerie McGregor advocate at delivery partner Knowsley Pensioners’ Advocacy Information Service (KPAIS) ponders the relationships we build whilst delivering advocacy support:
Having recently revisited some of the cases of older people affected by cancer who received support through advocacy, it became apparent that not only did we have a professional relationship as advocate and client whilst dealing with their issues, but also that during their journey we had become friends.
What I didn’t envisage was that through supporting them, I would get to know them so well. In so many cases I’ve learned about their lives from an early age, where they grew up and all about their families. I love to hear about and feel privileged to hear their stories, and how their cancer journey has affected them and their loved ones.
I have found that as an advocate, and especially whilst dealing with older people affected by cancer, it becomes apparent that very often, the client will minimise their issue and I hear them say they they feel there is someone else more in need of this service. The joy of this service is that we do have the time to spend in getting to know people, and giving them as much time as they need to identify the areas they would most benefit from some help. In this getting to know each other period, it really can begin to feel like chatting with old friends.
It’s always good to hear positive feedback about the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project and the service it provides, but it’s also good to know that having an advocate has been so helpful, that we are now regarded as friends. It’s clear that being there to listen or to talk things through can make such a big difference.
So many of the people who have accessed this service have said that they feel they have a friend for life which I find so humbling that I have been able to make such a positive impact.
Valerie McGregor KPAIS