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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Zambakari

More than Service: Integrating Advocacy into the Care Framework

Dr. Christopher Zambakari, B.S., MBA, M.I.S., LP.D.

Nathalia Zambakari, Board Certified AGACNP-BC

Under a single home care umbrella, Desert Haven Home Care, Apollo Residential Assisted Living, Oasis of Prescott, and Villa Fiore Assisted Living feature unparalleled care, service and advocacy in the compassionate treatment of senior citizens in need of medical attention. Offered in a familial setting, the facilities are teamed by professionals passionate about their work and fully engaged in the welfare of residents. Each facility proudly provides patient-centric supervisory, assisted and directed care, short-term respite stays and memory care support for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

This following exploration of the role of advocacy in senior healthcare is one of a series of regular informational blogs relative to the field of service, care and the treatment of our elderly.


Rhetorical questions: Isn’t it time we act to preserve the dignity of our senior citizens? Don’t our valued seniors deserve our greater focus on their quality-of-life issues? When will we stick up for the other guy?

Obvious answer: Right now.

The world’s population is aging rapidly, and senior citizens are now the fastest-growing segment of society. This phenomenon, cleverly monikered the “silver tsunami,” is having a profound effect on the way we think about the care and support of our seniors. With greater numbers living longer, and with the prevalence of age-related diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, advocating for seniors has become more important than ever before. Seven of 10 people over 65 years of age will need long-term care at some point, and with very little investment in quality care, this is not only troublesome, it is disrespectful to what newsman Tom Brokaw has called “the greatest generation.”

Advocating for seniors is critical to ensure they receive the best possible care and assistance.

Advocating for seniors is critical to ensure they receive the best possible care and assistance.
Credit: fizkes / Shutterstock

Advocacy is many things

Advocating for seniors is critical to ensure they receive the best possible care and assistance. This is as simple as giving someone a fighting chance, yet it always seems to fall to the bottom of list when senior care “amenities” are discussed – advocacy seems to be a second thought; where’s the money in advocacy?

Advocacy on behalf of seniors in need of meaningful attention is, at its most base level, the demand for better access to quality healthcare, services and support, especially for those crippled by the reality of neurological nightmares such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Senior care advocacy looks and feels and sounds like voices and actions that insist upon and deliver better access to housing and transportation for seniors. Such advocacy focuses too on greater resources for family caregivers. Just as important is advocacy for better public policies that recognize the needs of seniors and help them remain independent, safe and healthy.

Enabling, supporting, strengthening

Sure, assisted living facilities, memory care homes and residential care settings offer service. They all provide levels of treatment. Amenities can range from meal delivery to group activities, and from security to professional staff availability. But, advocacy, because of its behind-the-scenes nature, is too often overlooked. After all, what’s sexier and more marketable: “best-in-class” amenities, varied dining options and decorated living spaces, or “We will advocate on your behalf, always.”

Advocacy for our “greatest generation” should do at least three things: enable their individual and collective voices to be heard, support and promote their dignity and rights as human beings, and educate others about the grievances, opportunities and importance of change.

Presence is advocacy. Acting on behalf of a senior care patient includes being a presence in their lives and listening to their concerns, understanding the challenges faced on a daily basis. When we listen we learn, and when we learn we better understand. When we understand, we enter their environment and are in a more informed position to act on their behalf, to give them a voice in their surroundings.

Meaningful advocacy recognizes dignity. Advocacy in support of the aging and their needs – medical, personal, emotional, social – helps to ensure respectful treatment and care. The recognition of their human rights is a cornerstone of effective advocacy. This includes the necessary commitment to influencing laws and policies that protect seniors from discrimination and abuse. Additionally, it is important to advocate for laws and policies that ensure seniors have access to the resources they need to live safely and independently.

Advocacy can educate. In an entirely quotable speech in 2003, Nelson Mandela told the Mindset Network, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” The African leader’s words can easily be applied to the importance of advocacy on a more local scale – the bounds of senior healthcare. Too often, leaders and decisionmakers are unaware of the challenges and uncertainties faced by seniors in home care. An advocate on behalf of the senior home care population – a living, breathing demographic we know is only getting larger – helps to bring to light these issues, helps to educate others in a position to make change.

The time is now

When to stand up and stick up for our seniors in need? The time is now. Right now. These one-time warriors, one-time dancers, lovers, teachers, doctors, lawyers and mothers and fathers deserve access to the best possible care and services. They deserve to be heard, there must be empathy and action to effectively address their changing lifestyles and the impact of such change. This includes advocating for better access to quality care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as for more resources to help caregivers provide care for their loved ones. It also includes advocating for better access to social services, such as meal delivery programs, transportation services, and recreational activities.

The importance of advocating for seniors cannot be overstated. With an aging population and a silver tsunami upon us, the elderly are more vulnerable than ever before, and we have never been so tested to protect these of that greatest generation.

The time is right now. The time is now for advocacy to rise to the top of our responsibilities to our aging loved ones.


About the Authors

Dr. Christopher Zambakari, B.S., MBA, M.I.S., LP.D.

Christopher Zambakari is the owner and operator of four Arizona-based assisted living care homes – Desert Haven Home Care in Phoenix, Apollo Residential Assisted Living in Glendale, Oasis of Prescott and Villa Fiore Assisted Living in Prescott Valley. He provides direction and oversight to a team of licensed medical and caregiving professionals to ensure the highest levels of customized care, service and advocacy at each of his facilities.

Nathalia Zambakari, Board Certified AGACNP-BC

Nathalia is a board-certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and a licensed medical professional responsible for short-term care patients suffering from severe conditions. As part of the care team, Nathalia reviews the medical records of incoming residents, helping to manage patient regimens and performing caregiver education to ensure the best care, service and advocacy for her residents-in-care.


The material presented on this blog does not constitute medical advice. We encourage you to consult your primary care physician (PCP). The statements in this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice. If you or your loved one is considering the benefits of quality assisted living, please contact us at 602-670-9326, or email us at

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