Can you ever be prepared when death comes calling? Well no, but author Carolyn A. Brent deals with being ready in her 2011 book Why Wait? The Baby Boomers’ Guide to Preparing Emotionally, Financially and Legally for a Parent’s Death. Brent deals with the crucial emotional discussions that people of a certain age must have with their children, as well as other topics, like how to be an effective caregiver.
Brent has a master’s degree in business administration and was previously employed by the pharmaceutical industry as a clinical education manager She is now a very active and outspoken advocate of senior and veteran rights who works with the United States Congress to protect these two groups from financial and medical abuse—things to which they are extremely vulnerable. Brent is also responsible for founding A Caregiver’s Story (CCS), a non-profit organization that provides caregivers with access to medical information and other services they might need if caring for an aging parent (these services are all based in the San Francisco bay area).
Some may look at the title of Brent’s book, knowing that many members of the baby boomer generation care for their elderly parents, and assume it is talking about what they should do to prepare for the passing of an elderly parent. But that is not so, the book urges members of the Baby Boomer generation to start making plans for their own passing and to go ahead and have end of life discussions with their children, before a crisis comes up and while they still have the ability and the mental faculties to make their wishes known. And if a parent does not open up such a conversation, a concerned child should do so.
As you might have guessed already, Brent speaks from personal experience; she first began struggling to take care of her elderly father, Dr. William L. Brent, when he was diagnosed with dementia in 1997. I feel that the most important thing that she says to caregivers is that they must make time to take care of themselves too. Brent has found exercise and meditation to be particularly rewarding for her, but each caregiver must find what works for them. Even if this means seeking outside help—remember a list of outside resources can be found on A Caregiver’s Story.
Everyone realizes—just from looking at the title—that Brent’s book (which became a bestseller) deals with a difficult subject, but is also very important and that is articulated well.