The Fragile Patchwork of Care for New York’s Oldest Old

John Sorensen stood in the entryway of his Upper West Side apartment with a fresh bruise spreading over his upper arm and a blood-smeared bandage around one shin.

Mr. Sorensen, 91, had fallen in his kitchen — he said he did not recall how — and was still unsteady on his feet.

“It’s been a very bad day for me,” he said, his voice quavering just above a whisper. “I could’ve fallen 20 or 30 times today but I caught myself.”

Mr. Sorensen is one of six New Yorkers over the age of 85 I have been following since the beginning of the year. For Mr. Sorensen and the woman who manages his care — Anne Kornblum, a niece of his late partner — the fall was a cause for worry. Had Mr. Sorensen reached a turning point in his already fragile health? Was another fall inevitable, especially if Mr. Sorensen, who is nearly blind, continued to refuse to use a walker?

Ms. Kornblum guided Mr. Sorensen to a favorite chair and tried, once more, to reason with him. If he were to fall again, she said, he might have to give up his home.

– The New York Times

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