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A Piece of My Mind
January 18, 2012

Lessons in Elder Care

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia VA Medical Center; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia (

JAMA. 2012;307(3):263-264. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.2004

From my family's crash course in elder care, I’ve learned that every day is an improvisation and every plan needs its own plan B. I’ve also learned that I can be a feisty advocate, and an ineffective one too.

After my 96-year-old Nana sustained a treacherous fall, my mother and I visited her in a Florida hospital, where she stared at the ceiling and remarked on the spectacular mosaics above her.

“This is such a gorgeous room,” she said. “I don't think I’ve ever been here before.”

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