Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 5 of the Virtual Blog Tour of author Carolyn A. Brent whose book Why Wait? The Baby Boomers’ Guide to Preparing Emotionally, Financially and Legally for a Parent’s Death launches on Amazon on Tuesday November 15, 2011.
Author Carolyn A. Brent, M.B.A. is a former clinical educational manager in the pharmaceutical industry. She is an avid activist and advocate working with the U.S. Congress for the purpose of creating change to protect seniors and veterans from financial and medical abuse. She has appeared on many local and national TV and radio shows, and is a sought-after keynote speaker.
Yesterday, Carolyn visited Yvonne Perry at http://deathdyingafterlife.blogspot.com/2011/11/virtual-interview-with-author-carolyn-brent.html, where they talked about important family questions around support and being prepared.
Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Carolyn when I got to ask her some questions on understanding various different family relationships and what to do/expect.
Kathleen H. Wheeler: With 60% or more of families estimated to be dysfunctional in some way due to divorce, blended families, mental illness or some form of addiction, do you feel these dysfunctional families will be capable of responding effectively to the escalating caregiving challenge of their aging parents?
Carolyn A. Brent: Great Question! Contact an elder law attorney for guidance on filing for guardianship or a Power of Attorney (POA) if your parent is already having trouble making decisions on his or her own behalf. Typically, these documents are filed in family courts. It’s best to work with a specialized elder law attorney at this point so everything can be done in a manner that no one else can challenge—or would want to challenge.
Also, I wish I would have known about a “sibling contracts” are customized to cover the unique situation being experienced by the siblings who are party to the agreement. (I could certainly have used this with my siblings who did not get involved with Dad’s care until he was incapacitated). A sibling contract takes the pressure off sibling caregivers on the “back end” of caregiving, because things have been discussed and spelled out clearly at the “front end.”
Kathleen H. Wheeler: What advice can you offer for family caregivers dealing with a hostile and uncooperative parent unwilling to accept their illness, mental decline and obvious need for assistance?
Carolyn A. Brent: Contact a medical professional for help! If your parent is at risk of harming themselves or others, you should call the paramedics, police, or adult protective services. You must seek professional help, because this can be a bigger problem than you think. The safety of you and your parents are the most important thing you can do when you are dealing with a hostile and uncooperative parent. Keep in mind, your parent is not aware of their illness but you are.
Kathleen H. Wheeler: How would you describe your relationship now with your family, especially your twin sister, after twelve years caring for your father through serious family disagreements, accusations and legal challenges?
Carolyn A. Brent: Best description to your question is this! There isn’t a relationship with my twin or the other family members that attracted me for the “Pot of Gold” that simply did not exist.
However, I have forgiven my twin and family. While going through the healing process and looking back and questioning what helped? Why? And for what purpose? I learned about the Kübler-Ross model, commonly known as The Five Stages of Grief: Denial –Anger– Bargaining –Depression –Acceptance. Once I clearly understood this model, it helped me to realize that my family members and I were all at different stages in the grieving of our dad and his illness. Because I was deeply involved hands on with my dad, I look back and can now see how we all could have avoided such a tragic end. Overtime, I have reached the Acceptance stage. And, I mindfully avoid any triggers that can throw me back to the Denial –Anger– Bargaining or Depression stage.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Carolyn A. Brent and that you’ll check out her book Why Wait? The Baby Boomers’ Guide to Preparing Emotionally, Financially and Legally for a Parent’s Death at http://www.babyboomersguide.org/book-launch/pre-launch.html
Thanks for reading! As usual, please feel free to share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.
AND… be sure to follow Carolyn tomorrow when the next stop on the Virtual Blog Tour is Dr.Caron Goode, who will be interviewing Carolyn on her personal story and on communicating on a couple of touchy subjects. To visit that “stop” on the tour, go to either http://heartwiseparent.com/interview-with-carolyn-brent/ or http://academyforcoachingparents.com/blog/acpi/interview-with-carolyn-brent/