NEWBIE Advocate at The State Capitol

Written By Kelli Squire, Transition Coordinator for Maintain Me, Senior Services

Last week I was able to attend Chronic Disease Awareness Day at our state capitol as part of the Chronic Care Collaborative.  This was my first time as an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease, butI was in good company with the many experienced people there from The Alzheimer’s Association and others representing different diseases such as American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association just to name a few.  It was an exciting day!
We were divided into groups based on our mailing address.  This allowed us as a group to formulate our plan on what we would say to our specific members of The Senate and House of Representatives.  Our focus for the day was to advocate for Palliative and Respite Care Services:  Supportive care to assist one staying in their community or home.
Request to our lawmakers:  An interim legislative committee to develop policy and/or legislative recommendations to address inadequate reimbursement and workforce requirements for palliative and respite care.  My group of advocates were able to talk to several senators and house representatives and make our case.
Crash course on being an ADVOCATE
 Why are we here?
1.  To influence state policymakers as an advocate.
2.  To represent the organizations we belong to.
3.  To tell our stories and the stories of those we represent.
4.  To help others that can’t be here.
The Meet and Greet:
1.  Give your 30 second spiel- your personal story.
2.. Introduce self and where are you from.
3.  Why are you there?  What is your mission? Stay focused on the topic and what’s important.
4.  How does your story relate to the specific issue?  1000 FT view.
5.  What are you asking for?  Be clear and concise.
6.  Close the conversation.  Be respectful of their time. 
7.  Leave the facts sheet and your contact information. 
8.  Thank them for their support.
9.  Send a follow up and a personal thank you note.

All of us can be an advocate and support a cause. Take a stand and reach out to our lawmakers.  Be part of the solution as our population ages in Colorado.  We are the people in the trenches, in the field, and working with our aging population.  Who can advocate better than we can? Who better than us to speak for the people who can’t?  WE HAVE THE POWER!