The ideal scenario of sibling conversations versus the worst-case scenario

Allison Maslan of Blast-Off International recently interviewed me on her blog.  We talked about siblings having special needs regarding their aging parents.  – Below is the interview in its entirety.

Allison Maslan: Carolyn what is yours personal story that led you to write this book?

Carolyn: Through struggling with the legal, medical, financial, and familial issues that come up when adult children handle such matters poorly (whether due to denial or to strife), I discovered there were no books on what needs to be covered and planned for, written from the perspective of siblings. Siblings have special needs at such times and, ideally, can be of great comfort to one another. I found no books that discussed the ideal scenario of sibling conversations versus the worst-case scenario of no conversations, as well as cases when sibling rivalry and resentment are allowed to interfere with planning and care. My siblings and I are living proof that this can go very, very wrong, leading to no one’s benefit: neither the children’s, nor the parent’s.

The more research I did, the more committed I became to spreading the important message that planning is critical, and families must begin talking to one another as early as possible. For the past few years I’ve traveled across the country giving lectures at churches and to members of organizations with an interest in these issues, and I’ve spoken with numerous family caregivers. I set up to disseminate resources to help family caregivers. I’ve gone on radio and television. I’ve worked to pass new laws in Congress. Now I’ve written Why Wait? 

Allison Maslan: Carolyn tell me about the work you are doing members of congress to help change legislation?

Carolyn: Currently,  I am working with both to the United States Congress and State, toward making the Federal Government and State officials responsible for upholding the decisions and elder person have made about the appointment of a financial fiduciary and medical representative, in the event of their disability and protecting those whom they select. My  goal in life is to empower caregivers and their family members with knowledge of possible challenges they might face together while caring for an aging parent. 

Allison Maslan: Why is it important to have Crucial emotional conversations with parents, siblings and other family members?

Carolyn: Why Wait? is designed to guide you through a series of crucial conversations with your aging parent (or parents), and with your siblings, so that you and your family will be well prepared for your parent’s end-of-life physical, mental, and emotional challenges and ultimate death. 

It is important to have a one-on-one with your parent, as well as in conjunction with your siblings.  Siblings also need to be able to communicate well with one another. It is best to begin talking, to resolve relationship conflicts from the past or present, and to make decisions when your parent is healthy and has a sharp mind, so that should an illness, an accident, or another type of emergency occur, you can focus on those acute sudden needs and your relationship. However, a conversation may be even more necessary if you’ve waited and your parent is ailing. When death comes, proper planning and calm, rational, purposeful, honest, well-intentioned conversations can lessen or prevent family conflict.

Thank you Carolyn for the interview.

About Carolyn Brent

Dr. Carolyn A. Brent, is an award-winning bestselling author and a National Physique Committee (NPC) Masters Women's Figure Champion at age 60. She is an expert on both self-care and caregiving; she is the founder of Across All Ages and two nonprofit organizations, CareGiverStory Inc. and Grandpa's Dream. Carolyn's research and extensive collection of published works have made her a notable figure in her field. For seventeen years, she worked for some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies and has worked as a volunteer at various assisted-living facilities. Her award-winning books include The Caregiver's Companion: Caring for Your Loved One Medically, Financially and Emotionally While Caring for Yourself and The Caregiver's Legal Survival Guide: Navigating through the Legal System.

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