by Angela D. James, MBA
After spending 12 years of being the primary caregiver for her father who had been diagnosed with dementia, Carolyn A. Brent found herself mentally and physically depleted of all life giving energy as well as being dragged through the courts in California by her twin sister for elder abuse; though exonerated of all charges, the experience brought devastations on every level of her life.
The life force deep within her gave her the strength she needed at 56 years old to begin her own journey toward optimum health. She was awarded second place in the National Physical Fitness Competitors Event at 57 years of age. Brent followed that amazing feat this year, 2016, by winning first place in the National Body Building Competition in Miami Florida in the 60-plus category.
Caregiving expert Carolyn A. Brent gives others hope for the future. The renowned author and advocate prompts caregivers about the importance of self-care. Author, advocate and non-profit founder Carolyn A Brent knows these struggles all too well, which is why her life’s charge is to help caregivers discover their own sense of individual strength in preparing for the future. Brent’s research and extensive collection of published works has established her as a notable figure in this field.
Caring for a chronically ill loved one is always difficult; with it, often comes unforeseen financial, legal and emotional agony and distress. However, being armed with the right information, it doesn’t always have to end with the caregiver’s own personal suffering.
The road to self-care
When Brent’s dad was diagnosed with dementia in 1997, she redirected all of her time and vitality into caregiving. Her drive to succeed on her job was fully stirred by a desire to pay for her father’s private care; moreover, she also battled personal health issues. Brent’s perseverance and deep love for her father inspired her to keep moving forward while trying to encourage other caregivers to move forward as well.
“Many caregivers neglect to invest health into their own lives because of the dedication to nursing their loved ones,” says Brent. “After gaining 20 pounds and suffering from a severe back issue, I realized I had to start taking care of myself and that there is nothing wrong with thinking that way.”
Changing the rules
After being wrongfully accused of neglecting her father, Brent took to the California courts to make sure others did not have to go through the same hardships she had suffered. In 2013, Brent began advocating for a bill that would make vexatious litigation a felony. She embraced it as her personal responsibility to contest injurious legislation which actually harmed the individual who step forward to offer loving care. She purposed to inform other caregivers about existing laws, and teach them how to legally prepare for a loved ones’ departure.
“Many people culminate in caregiving situations where they have had no preparation. Over 60 percent of those needing care have no legal documents in place; this can be particularly problematic because of state laws,” says Brent. “This enthused my pilgrimage to Washington D.C to advocate for caregivers who become victims of the laws currently on the books. I am working tirelessly to build a brand that will get these laws changed.
Some of Brent’s most remarkable accomplishments have been as a best-selling award winning author with her expansive body of work; such as “The Caregiver’s Companion: Caring for Your Loved One Medically, Financially and Emotionally While Caring for Yourself,” This useful tool is now in the Library of Congress and is available in hardcover from Thorndike Press as an instrument of learning for Colleges & Universities across the nation. Brent will be releasing her seventh book this year called: “DEEP BEAUTY”
To learn more about Carolyn A. Brent and her mission, watch her on “Across All Ages NTV/ABC, which aired every third Tuesday of the month. These programs can now be seen on her Youtube channel. Also visit: http://www.CareGiverStory.com
Angela D. James