After a cancer diagnosis, many people feel like they’ve been thrown into a new, confusing world. To make sure older people don’t face it alone, we’re working with the Older People’s Advocacy Alliance to recruit volunteers to act as their advocates.
Advocates are people of a similar age who’ve also had cancer experiences. They’ll speak up for an older person to make sure their voice is heard when decisions are made about their care. Since 2011, we’ve recruited 61 advocates, and we now aim to increase this number to 330.
How Bob supports Brian
Bob has been an advocate for Brian for a year now. As well as supporting Brian with the medical side of things, he’s also there to help to him live a full life.
Bob says, ‘As an advocate, I’m more of an impartial friend who stands side-by-side with someone like Brian to make sure they get access to the right healthcare services.
‘Before his cancer diagnosis, Brian was enjoying a life many of us would envy. Living by the coast, he’d loved sailing on sunny days with friends. All that changed after he was told he had myeloma cancer, he felt like his life was over.’
Helping Brian get active
‘Socialising took a back seat to treatments. For medical reasons, Brian’s driving licence was taken away too. He was unable to get out and about and was stuck inside his flat all day watching TV alone.
‘But I knew I could help Brian. Over time we worked to understand his problems and to improve his self esteem. We also wrote a list of things he would like to do. A simple way to start getting him back on his feet.’
‘Now, because of the help of Macmillan, Brian’s become more active in the world around him and is now looking forward to ticking off more and more things from his list.’