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What Millennials Need to Ask Their Parents

There’s no good time to find out you have a brain tumor, but I think my father has a solid claim on the worst luck ever in this regard. When he got the bad news, I was camping. Not just camping, actually — I was sleeping in a tent in southern Ethiopia, days away from(…)

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A Lost Language

Keith Brofsky/Getty Images “Haughty” for “heavy.” “Linging” for “lying.” “Lisa” for “visa.” “Area” for “stress.” I jotted down Dad’s word mashups on a scrap of paper. I wanted to report faithfully his symptoms when we arrived at the emergency room. At 5 p.m. that winter night, Mom called and said: “Come over now. Your father’s(…)

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Therapy Can Still Help

Older adults appear increasingly willing to seek psychological help, even at advanced ages, Abby Ellin reports in today’s Science Times. Therapy no longer carries the same stigma it once did, even among the so-called Greatest Generation, and therapists now discount the idea that people in their 70s and 80s can’t change their thinking. “Usually, they’ve(…)

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The Retirement Home, Alive With Intrigue

“Who in the hell wants dinner at 5:30?” wonders Rachel Silverman, a sharp Boston lawyer who has mysteriously washed up in the fictional Pine Haven Retirement Community in the nonfictional Fulton, N.C. “You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out how a place like this works; a later dinner would require a later work(…)

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Hospital Dangers for Patients With Parkinson’s

Annie’s Sweet Pea Photography Karen and Roger Anderson at their home in Tigard, Ore. It was supposed to be a short stay. In 2006, Roger Anderson was to undergo surgery to relieve a painfully compressed spinal disk. His wife, Karen, figured the staff at the hospital, in Portland, Ore., would understand how to care for(…)

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It’s Never Just One Thing

Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure and heart disease are the three most common chronic conditions in assisted living facilities: 82 percent of residents have at least one of them, according to a new government study. But what is alarming is how these ailments overlap. A Venn diagram based on data from the study, by the(…)

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In Montana, New Controversy Over Physician-Assisted Suicide

The patient who changed his thinking, Dr. Eric Kress told me, was dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or A.L.S. The man had hospice care, but as he wasted away and lost his ability to walk, swallow and speak above a whisper, he asked Dr. Kress, the hospice medical director, for a lethal prescription he could(…)

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When Independence Means You’re on Your Own

Gosia Wozniacka/Associated Press The main gate of Glenwood Gardens, a retirement community in Bakersfield, Calif., where an elderly woman died after a nurse refused to perform CPR. In late February, Lorraine Bayless, 87, died at a California independent living facility after an employee declined to provide CPR — for more than seven minutes, even as(…)

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When Best Friends Can Visit

Courtesy of Ann Grandis Harry Grandis received a visit from his pet Yorkie, Minnie, while he was a patient at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, which has a pet visitation policy. A year and a half ago, Ruth London lay in intensive care in a hospital in Boca Raton, Fla., with severe pneumonia, delirious and(…)

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A Singular Life, an All Too Common End

Gerald Penny/Associated Press President Ronald Reagan was Margaret Thatcher’s closest foreign ally. Their relationship was called “the most enduring personal alliance in the Western world throughout the 1980s.” The long list of roles Margaret Thatcher played during her 87 years — potent politician, free-market evangelist, labor antagonist, dominant global leader — includes the one she(…)

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