The Pursuit of Justice for caregivers and their loved ones

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

On February 19, 2013, I testified before the Committee on Aging and Long-Term in Sacramento, California, about the nefarious practice of vexatious

YAMADA, BEALL, CHAIRS Committees: Human Services

YAMADA, BEALL, CHAIRS Committees: Human Services

litigation as it relates to family caregivers. The road I traveled to that day had been a long one. In fact, my trip had begun six years before, in 2007. Let me share some of that journey with you to give you a deeper appreciation for my fight and why I’ve written this book. “The Caregiver’s Companion”  That year, I contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Oakland, California. In full detail, I shared with officials there what happened to my father and me. The result: The VA took no action.

The next year, in 2008, I contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), located in the same building as the VA, and shared my story with two FBI agents. Weeks later, after the completion of their internal investigation, an agent called me and said, “Your complaint is not within the scope of our jurisdiction. I suggest you take this matter to a family law court.” Family law court? That’s not an option! I thought. “What good will it serve my dad and me when our judicial system is broken? At that very moment I realized I needed to do something far more significant to help change our current laws, with the aim of protecting my father, the “veteran,” and people like me, the “caregiver.”

In 2009, I began my pursuit of justice with the sole purpose of changing the laws in California at the federal and state levels regarding the nefarious practice of vexatious litigation against a caregiver.

1458608_10201384772079491_1423820030_nIn 2010, I knocked on the door of my congressman’s office during the busiest time of the year—he was campaigning for a second term—and I didn’t get a meeting. I kept trying to get on his calendar though, even appearing at all of his local events with hopes of bending his ear, but I still had no luck. Finally, a year after the start of my pursuit, I obtained an appointment!



On March 18, 2011, at exactly 3:30 pm, I was given a whopping “ten minutes” to share my entire story with my congressman. After providing an overview of what happened in 2007, I pointed out a “loophole” within the federal and state agencies., I explained that I had discovered the state does not recognize a veteran’s end-of-life choices that have been filed legally at the federal level by the veteran. Therefore, if a veteran has not filed the same documents at the state level, the veteran’s wishes are not legally valid or recognized in the eyes of the state. Ultimately, this opens up the doors to the state for disgruntled family members who do not agree with the veteran’s choices, I told the congressman. This “loophole,” I continued, provides an opportunity for disgruntled family members to practice the act of nefarious vexatious litigation against the caregiver who was chosen by the veteran—exactly what happened to my father and me. I told my congressman, “When my father was cognitive and healthy, he filed all of the VA required legal documents appointing me as his guardian in the event of his disability.” Then I paused for a moment and asked the million-dollar question. “Of what benefit is it for the veteran to file legal documents at the federal level, if the federal government is not going to protect the veteran’s end-of-life choices on the backend of caregiving, when family members disagree with the choices made by the veteran at the state level and use the act of vexatious litigation against the caregiver? Surely, if my father and I had known about this ‘loophole’ we would have filed the same documents with the state of California as well, to safeguard his wishes.”

My congressman then asked, “What results are you looking for?” I replied,
“Justice for my father’s end-of-life choices, and protection for disabled veterans and their caregivers who have been acting in ‘good faith.’ Most importantly, closing the ‘loophole’between state……Read more details: Get Your Copy

I made a promise to my father’s spirit that I will visit his burial site with the news that the law has been changed to protect the caregiver and the person he or she is caring for. Untold numbers of people would benefit from a revised law. I know this firsthand. Since 2009 I have been conducting extensive research on this topic and others related to family caregiving, including interviewing more than fifteen hundred caregivers across the globe.

This research has culminated in this book, designed to help you navigate the trickywaters of caregiving. With this guide to help you step-by-step along the way, you will be equipped to become a confident caregiver for your loved one, you will learn how to take proper care of yourself, and you will master the necessary skills to communicate and work effectively with your extended family during this difficult time in your aging loved one’s life.

This guide will have you pondering big, detailed questions, but the biggest takeaway involves the most basic of ideas: love is the greatest thing you can give to your ailing loved one. Come on this journey in The Caregiver’s Companion and find out how to give that and more. Visit:


The Journey



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221601_164467533615072_420730_nPlanning, Protecting and Paying for the future of Caregiving in California.
America's CareGiver Empowerment Strategist 1







The Caregiver’s Companion: This is more than a book — it’s a movement to change public policy 

I Promised My Dad

Editorial Reviews
Review — Library Journal
“Not limited to addressing the needs of Alzheimer’s patients, this compact manual from Brent, founder of Caregiver Story and Grandpa’s Dream, two nonprofit organizations geared toward providing comprehensive support for caregivers, walks readers through the crucial issues of moving their aging loved ones into an assisted-living facility as well as discussing emotional, medical, legal, and financial issues with them. Checklists are provided  for gathering important information. A particularly helpful chapter delves into the frequent dilemma of dealing with the loved one’s resistance to even talking about these issues.VERDICT An excellent, comprehensive guide to everything both new and seasoned caregivers need to know.”

“A timely, thought provoking page-turner that should be considered a desk reference for caregivers and those who would be caregivers of all ages.”
-Rawle Andrews, Jr., Esq., Regional Vice President, AARP

“A personal, compelling account. It is thorough, accurate, and highly credible. Brent’s straightforward advice can serve as an excellent help to anyone in the situation of working with siblings on parent care. I highly recommend it!”
–Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, R.N., attorney, author of The Boomer’s Guide to Aging Parents

“As a pastor and counselor, I endorse Brent’s book as an excellent resource. I recommend it for inclusion in all church libraries, homes of family caregivers, and the offices of pastors who work with people who care for aging parents.”
-Rev. Dr. Mary Newbern-Williams, Pastor, author of With Scares on My Soul. 

“It takes real courage to reveal your darkest hour and deepest vulnerability to benefit others. Brent is truly inspirational. Her book offers us the universal wisdom of her life lessons. She has set a new, elevated standard for turning adversity to love and redemption.”
-Mikol Davis, Ph.D., geriatric psychologist, CEO of

“As a pastor, physician, veteran, and one who was also a caregiver and suffered loss, I know Carolyn Brent has stripped the cover off of one of life’s most painful processes. Why Wait? challenges us to take an honest look at our deepest fears and rejoice in our hope of true reconciliation.”
-Charles Woodridge, M.D.


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The Caregiver’s Companion & Why Wait?

Everything you need to know to ensure that your elderly loved one is being properly cared for — while taking care of yourself.

Where to Get your copy

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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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