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TCV Book Review – The Complete Resource Guide for Baby Boomers

Posted Mar 16 2011 11:48am

The Complete Resource Guide for Baby Boomers Darlene Merkler’s The Complete Resource Guide for Baby Boomers-Everything you need to know about caring for your  parent is a regionally-originated compilation of articles useful for all caregivers.

Nineteen experts provide information, resources, and examples to raise caregiver awareness of the multi-faceted responsibilities faced by many caregivers. Although, the book is a regional compilation, it works beyond California’s Inland Empire.

Topics covered in The Complete Resource Guide are divided into three sections–

All too often, we are thrust into the role of caregiving, not even knowing what to expect. The role is so foreign for many of us (it was for me) that we do 360s trying to make sense of the dizzying amount information coming our way. There is so much we’re unaware of; we don’t even know what questions to ask.

Other times, we know the basics, but with a lot of information thrown at us, we need reminders.

The Complete Resource Guide distills the important information you need:

Know the difference among Advance Directives, Power of Attorney, Conservatorship/Guardianship, Wills, and Trusts.

Handle your parents’ finances beyond just savings and checking accounts and why changing the address to yours may be a good idea.

Ways to pay for care including a “qualifying stay,” Medicare/Medicaid, and Veterans benefits.

Clear guidelines on Medicare Parts A through D – eligibility, what is/is not covered, who needs Part D (prescription coverage) hospice

Home health care – three types of in-home care providers (independent, registry, employment-based), how to qualify for care, questions to ask when evaluating an agency, and why it might save you money and heartache to pay a little more.

The multi-faceted role of a geriatric care manager and how to receive the help you need with a view of your parents’ feelings.

Strategies for downsizing and moving (Hint: Start with the large and easy stuff!) Also, when and how to sell a house. Although, initially stressful, after many finish, they view it as a liberating process.

Caregivers can be involved from a distance by gathering and sharing information with primary caregiver family members and even coordinating care teams and following up.

Despite doing undergraduate and graduate work in the field of communications, I see that I could have done better 15 years ago when coordinating and communicating with my siblings about our father’s care. I could have used more effective strategies such as supportive, nurturing, and trust-building behaviors as outlined in the closing chapters of Merkler’s compilation.

Alzheimer’s and dementia numbers – over 10% of the estimated 5.5 million people living with Alzheimer’s in the United States, reside in the State of California. Due to a rapidly aging population, the number of Latinos and Asians with Alzheimer’s is expected to rise 300% within the next 20 years while the numbers of African-Americans will double.

It amazes me even today how few people understand the beneficial role of hospice. Covered by most insurers, hospice is not a “death sentence” but rather a compassionate partner to support you and your loved as you navigate the emotional, mental, and even physical stresses at the end-of-life. How you manage this period will determine the quality of memories you have. Invite hospice to help.

Finally, a comforting closing chapter reminds us to ask for help, to take care of ourselves (67% of caregivers experience clinical depression; feeling helpless, hopeless, paralyzed, and trapped), and that our best is good enough.

Merkler’s compilation of 19 experts into one nearly 300-page book with worksheets at the end of almost every chapter gives you the opportunity to take notes of your unique circumstances while having almost everything you need at your fingertips. And if there’s something missing, you’ll know which questions to ask.

Make The Complete Resource Guide for Baby Boomers your caregiving guide by clicking on this sentence.

Reviewed by Brenda Avadian, MA  (March 16, 2011)

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