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The medical system may treat you well, but less so after you reach age 80

From the Washington Post 04/06/2015 by Louise Aronson

 stairs

The clinic was in a dilapidated old building, yet the entryway retained a worn grandeur. Tapering, semicircular walls extended like welcoming arms, and a half-moon of sidewalk stretched to the quiet side street.

That’s where I first saw her, standing at the curb with her cane propped on her walker, squinting toward the nearby boulevard. The woman was clearly well into her 80s, with a confident demeanor and with clothes and hair that revealed an attention to appearance. She had a cellphone in one hand and seemed to be waiting for a ride.

I had been heading into the clinic for a 4:30 p.m. appointment, and when I came back out, night had fallen. But for her tan winter coat and bright scarf, I might have missed her leaning against the clinic’s curved wall. She still held the cellphone, but now her shoulders were slumped and her hair disheveled by the cold evening breeze.

I hesitated. On one side of town, my elderly mother needed computer help. On the other, our dog needed a walk, dinner had to be cooked and several hours of patient notes and work e-mails required my attention.

I asked this woman whether she was okay. She looked at the ground, lips pursed, and shook her head. “No,” she said. “My ride didn’t come, and I have this thing on my phone that calls a cab, but it sends them to my apartment. I don’t know how to get them here, and I can’t reach my friend.”

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Did you know that VCU has a Geriatric Education Center?

…and a quarterly publication about issues and events of interest to Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation. Here’s the link: http://www.sahp.vcu.edu/vcoa