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article imageCarolyn A. Brent: A Caregiver's story of money, stress and health

By Andrew Moran     Jan 3, 2013 in Lifestyle
San Ramon - Are caregivers across the globe the unsung heroes of daily life? Those who are unable to care of themselves completely depend on caregivers, who dedicate most of their lives to the well-being and welfare of the disabled, sick, children and elderly.
Perhaps caregivers are not given the necessary accolades that other individuals and even professions are provided with. Here are some statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding caregivers located in the United States:
- Out-of-pocket costs for caregivers are estimated to be $5,531
- At least a quarter report having a difficult time balancing work and life
- More than half report their health had gotten worse while caregiving
- Two-thirds neglect going to the doctor because of the involved duties
- There are roughly 34 million unpaid caregivers helping someone over 18
These figures are just a glimpse of what caregivers have to deal with throughout their years looking after loved ones. They don’t complain, though, but rather they just work to enhance and enrich the lives of their families and aging parents.
One of these people is Carolyn A. Brent, the bestselling author of “Why Wait? The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Preparing Emotionally, Financially & Legally for a Parent’s Death,” who has lectured across the U.S. discussing the importance of addressing aging and care in the home.
Using her own experience looking after her father, her book provides the necessary tools to deal with financial, legal and emotional matters that take place due to the near-death of elderly parents. Brent writes about what choices and final decisions have to be made while caring for a loved one.
With close to 80 million Baby Boomers residing in the U.S., such material, like Brent’s, is deemed a necessity to many of the adults, who have been labeled as the sandwich generation – looking after both their aging parents and their children – because of the endless paperwork involved and costs associated with the situation.
“For the elderly, now is the time for conversations about end-of-life issues to take place with their children, not later. And if your parents don’t bring the subject up, as a concerned child you should,” stated Brent in an interview with Sensitive Self-Help. “Why wait to begin talking? Why wait until there is a crisis? It is much better to hold these crucial conversations early when your parents are still healthy and can articulate their wishes, needs, and concerns. When a family has a plan, it is much easier to work together as a team.”
Brent has worked with both the federal and state governments in order to bring issues of concern to the elderly to public officials, such as Medicare, Medicaid, assisted living and the Veteran’s Administration. She has also worked with legislators to protect seniors from both financial and medical abuse.
Much of her work has been part of A Caregiver’s Story (CGS), a non-profit organization that is meant for baby boomers and caregivers and equips them with complimentary financial, legal and medical resources as well as giving them medical information and other queried data.
On the CGS website alone there is a tremendous amount of information related to affordable health care options, caregiver resource programs, legal resources, funeral services, psychosocial support and other pertinent matters.
Due to overwhelming success of Brent’s initiative, she has taken part in media interviews, published guest posts at different media outlets, provided orations at speaking engagements and offered byline editorials related to a variety of end-of-life issues.
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