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As my mother has gotten older, she has lived with some of her children for a time. I was the last one she lived with before choosing to go into an assisted living center. “It’s not that I don’t like living here,” she said. “You make me quite comfortable. It’s just the stairs and the tub.”

We knew those might be a problem. We had fixed a room for her that had a bathroom nearby, put in a television, and tried to think of anything she might need. But there were stairs to climb. She mostly only had to do it once in the morning and once in the evening, as she spent the rest of the day downstairs with us. But even those two times were hard on her, and she needed oxygen to do it.

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