Washington Post: I needed to find care for my elderly aunt. What I found was an eldercare crisis.

By A.K. Whitney

The call came right after lunchtime.

“I’ve fallen again.”

My great-aunt Emma sounded frustrated and frail. Her arm hurt too much to move, she said, let alone pick up the bag of groceries she’d just bought. It might be broken. Could I come pick her up and drive her to the emergency room?

I tried not to panic. This was her fourth fall of the year. How bad was this break? And how would this affect her long recovery from the lung injury she sustained during the first fall?

Emma is the kind of person I want to be when I finally grow up: sharp, indomitable, open to new experiences, independent. And always bandbox neat, often in a cute hat. However, as I waited for her in an emergency room cubicle to come back from X-rays, I realized I’d been in denial. It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought about losing her; as she went from her 80s to her 90s, I knew that was inevitable. But I hadn’t thought about what she might go through before that.

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