When you take a public stand, you are advocating. You speak up and speak out. You take a position, communicate your position, and build support.
Decisions about older adults will affect everyone either now or later. Decision makers need to hear from people of all ages. Are these decision makers doing what they promise? What are they doing about services for older adults? They may tell you how much they are spending. That’s not good enough. Where is that money going? What services is it paying for? How do we know those services are helping people?
Advocacy comes in many forms – some formal and some informal. All can work. To get started:
- Decide what’s important to you. Be specific about what you want to see.
- Learn about the issue – who is affected, what is happening now, and what should be happening.
- Find out who can make the decisions you want.
- Talk with family, friends, neighbours, and colleagues. Working with others gives you a better chance of success.
Then mobilize support:
- Check your mailbox for information from your MP, MPP, or local councillor.
- Build relationships.Decision makers listen to people they know.
- Communicate by email, letter, telephone, or social media. What do you or others need that they aren’t getting?
- Visit in person (when it is safe).
- Be clear and concise. Name a problem the government wants to solve. Get their attention.
You may not see results right away, but repeated efforts over time can bring large changes. Above all, don’t be discouraged. Be persistent.
Whatever your age, situation, or experience with politics or government, you can advocate for improved home and community care for older Ontarians. We urge you to do so.