Coming off the deaths of his father following a bout with lung cancer, a loved one who was diagnosed with leukemia, and a number of friends who contracted HIV, attorney David S. Landay wrote Be Prepared
for people facing life-challenging conditions. The book is organized and presented in a tone Landay says is necessary for anyone facing an uncertain future. As such, he repeatedly emphasizes a need to both expect the best and prepare for the worst. He covers a variety of topics, including drugs and treatments, nutrition and exercise, taxes, new uses of existing assets, and estate planning. Being proactive is a consistent theme and is particularly relevant in areas such as medical power of attorney, living wills, do-not-resuscitate orders, durable power of attorney, and preneed decisions about children. Of course, when it comes to an area such as money, it's tempting to assume that much of this information is already presented in other reputable books on financial planning that cover areas such as life, disability, and health insurance. But Landay makes a point of noting that some of his concepts for people with life-challenging conditions appear to fly against conventional wisdom. He calls attention to those concepts with a special symbol and refers to them as CASH: Conventional Advice Switched on its Head. (Examples: As long as you have a taxable income, it is advisable to continue to invest in retirement accounts; even if you don't have health insurance, there are still ways to get it; disability does not generally happen overnight; Medicaid covers more long-term care than Medicare.) And the book is certainly unique in its compilation of advice in a variety of areas (medical, financial, and legal), all aimed at informing people facing critical decisions. In the end, it's hard to know if Be Prepared
is a truly proactive tool, or the type of resource people won't turn to until a crisis strikes. In that sense, it's much like earthquake preparation guides that go unnoticed until the big one hits. Nevertheless, Landay's effort is a sobering reminder both that poor health can send our lives spiraling out of control and that a little planning ahead can bring pride, dignity, and a sense of power to an otherwise compromised life. --John Russell
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Read this book. Everyone confronted by a major illness will gain important knowledge to help live his or her life with dignity. (Cornelius Baker, executive director of the National Association of People with AIDS
is an essential guide for all of us (Diane Blum, ACSW, executive director of Cancer Care, Inc.