A flicker of anxiety arises as I pass through the locked doors to visit the Alzheimer’s residence of my ninety-three-year-old stepmother. Who is mentally and spiritually prepared to cope with demented old age? Not I. I am as addicted as any other American to possessing the freedom to pursue highly stimulating work and leisure. To be old, fragile, and dependent is bad enough, but to be demented is the most dreaded of fates.
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