Additional Tips

  • If what you've found doesn't suit your needs, keep looking, it's out there somewhere!
  • Don't just accept answers that don't make sense to you, check again with someone else and do some more poking around!
  • Don't be afraid to move "up the ladder" if you think you're not getting what you need. Try working with a "front line" person, but if you get nowhere, speak to the supervisor, and then the person who supervises the supervisor!
  • If the person you spoke to can't help you find out why. And then find someone who can!
  • Find out who can help you with what - make sure you ask the right people the right questions.
  • Try calling people early in the morning (between 7 and 9) and late in the afternoon (after 5). People who work long hours (including supervisors) often answer their own phones at these times.
  • Don't be afraid to contact the "big wigs" if you're not making progress. The higher up you go, the more sensitive people are to trying to solve problems quickly and quietly. Make sure you tried to work through the "proper channels" first, though. And make sure you can document this, to show you tried other solutions first.
  • Ask questions - of your friends, neighbors, workers, anyone who might have some helpful information. You don't have to take everyone's advice, but remember that "Everyone knows something that can be helpful!"
  • Try to find people who have already been through the same system. If they've been successful, they can share their tips with you. Talk to people while you're waiting in line or sitting in offices waiting to see a worker.
  • If you're not satisfied with the person you're dealing with, try calling back or returning to the office at a different time, maybe you'll be helped by a different person! This really works with "hot lines" and information lines, someone else may pick up the phone the next time!
  • Don't give up! Keep trying!
  • Be full of energy when you thank someone for helping you, or for trying to help you. And use that same energy when you have to tell people they need to try a little harder!
  • Educate them! Sometimes you know more than the people who are supposed to be helping you. Teach them what they need to know to help you " they can use it to help others, too.
  • "There's more than one way to skin a cat!" Be creative! If you're not getting anywhere one way, think of other way to do it. Ask people for suggestions. Ask people in your group what they have done in your situation and "brain storm" for new ideas.
  • Take care of you yourself! You can't do a good job for anyone else if you're not at your best!

From: For Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: A Series of Workshops to Help You Cope-Grandparent Resource Center, New York City Department for the Aging