What do I mean by “Crucial Conversations”?

In 2011, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) reported a record breaking number of Baby Boomers applying for SSA benefits. This means that we, the Baby Boomer generation, who back in the 1960s referred to ourselves as “the younger generation” are now taking the place of our parents as the “older generation.” (In this photo the age range is from 54 years old to 102 years old).

But how much do we know about what is really important to think about as we age? Baby Boomers, have you ever thought having the “crucial conversations” with your adult children? What do I mean by “crucial conversations”? I mean the kinds of conversations about end-of-life issues. The kinds of conversations no one wants to have, but absolutely must. As we age, it is important that we and our children clearly understand:

  • If we get suddenly and unexpectedly ill, who is going to take us to the hospital?
  • What kind of care do we want?
  • Where are the finances for hospital, nursing care, long-term care going to come from?
  • And finally, what are our desires regarding our funeral? Who is going to pay for it?

If we as parents don’t have these discussions with our adult children, all hell can break loose when we are too ill to intervene, with everyone expressing different desires, often putting stress upon everyone involved. 

So, stop and think about it.

Now is the time to have that family meeting and discuss your wishes regarding end-of-life issues.  When a parent—or anyone, for that matter—reaches the stage of life that is the end of life, there needs to be a way provided for that person to die with dignity and in relative peace. For children, this can be a difficult transition, and confusion and strife are not optimal. However, when your family is prepared in matters of finance, medical care, end-of-life choices, this allows siblings to be good partners for each other and strong advocates for the wishes of the parents.


She explains everything you need to know about these crucial conversations in full detail, along with other important information covering the financial, legal and emotional necessities of aging and end-of-life issues, in her upcoming book Why Wait? The Baby Boomers’ Guide to Preparing Emotionally, Financially and Legally for a Parent’s Death which is coming out Nov 15, 2011.  Be sure to subscribe to this blog to receive regular helpful tips, and news of the upcoming book release.

You can also download a free Medical Check List by clicking this link.

And please do leave a comment below. I would love to hear about your personal story or experiences on this topic.

Carolyn A. Brent, M.B.A., is a former clinical educational manager in the pharmaceutical industry. During her role as a panelist on many clinical studies, she developed a passion to inform the public about the many side effects of drugs, especially those used in the care of the elderly. When her own father became ill with dementia in 1997, she began to experience firsthand the frustration of not only coping with the medical world, but also the legal, financial, and, of course, emotional aspects of caring for her aging father. Today, Carolyn 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. She resides in Northern California.

Her book Why Wait? The Baby Boomers’ Guide to Preparing Emotionally, Financially and Legally for a Parent’s Death is coming out Nov 15, 2011.


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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