Question: I want to help people understand their rights and become more empowered to make their voice heard. What are some options that older adults and people with disabilities can use to advocate for themselves?
Answer: There are multiple advocacy organizations that can help people understand their rights within certain programs, as well as have their voice heard within local, state, and federal government. Below are a few ideas to get you started!
For people with a loved one residing in a facility or enrolled in a long-term care program like Family Care, Partnership, and IRIS: an Ombudsman through Disability Rights Wisconsin (under age 60) or the Bureau on Long Term Care (over age 60) can help people understand their rights and how to navigate appeals and grievances.
• Disability Rights Wisconsin:
• Long Term Care Ombudsman:
To understand your local government and decisions being made, ADRC has made a resource to help people understand how legislation works and who they can contact to advocate for a decision that is important to them. You can find that resource at adrcofbrowncounty.org/advocacy-in-action.
It is also important to know who your local, state, and federal legislators are. These are the people that work for YOU, so it is important to make yourself heard. If you’re not sure how to find your legislator, ADRC has made it easy. Visit us online at adrcofbrowncounty.org/know-your-legislators.
Wondering what some of the big advocacy areas are that may need attention? Advocacy topics that relate to caregivers, older adults, and people with disabilities will be listed on the ADRC’s website, along with how to best advocate for a cause that is important to you. You can find that list here: adrcofbrowncounty.org/advocacy-opp.
You may also consider joining a Board of Directors for a local nonprofit organization. If you love the idea of advocacy, Wisconsin Senior Advocates is looking for help!
Wisconsin Senior Advocates (WSA) is a coalition of older adults that wish to have input on policies and procedures affecting the older adult population in the state. Their goals include:
• Participating in the Wisconsin Aging Advocacy Network activities, including Aging Advocacy Day at the capital.
• Keeping informed of issues at the local, state, and federal levels.
• Advocating on issues at all levels that impact the senior community – providing information to elected officials through phone calls, office visits, budget testimony, and more.
• Working with older adults on how to advocate for themselves and their needs.
Find contact information here: adrcofbrowncounty.org/advocacy-opp.
This information is provided for educational purposes and to empower you with information. As advocates, being educated on proposed legislation is critical.