Discussion

A 78-year-old female comes to your office escorted by a neighbor who is a patient of yours. The neighbor, who has lived next door to the older woman for years, relates that a week ago the elderly woman’s sister died and that she had been her caregiver for many years. The neighbor relates that although she would occasionally see the older woman, she did not visit the home. At the funeral last week, she noticed that the woman appeared fatigued, confused, sad, and gaunt in appearance. Later the neighbor approached the woman, inquired about her health, and determined that the woman had a very difficult time the past couple of months, caring alone for her sister until the end when hospice care was initiated. The neighbor convinced the woman to seek medical care and today is the first appointment with a provider that this 78-year-old female has had in 3 years. The older woman states that she is very fatigued and sad over the loss of her sister. Neither her sister nor the patient has been married. A distant niece came to the funeral but lives about 30 miles away. The woman states that she is not taking any prescription medication and relates no medical problems that she is aware of being diagnosed.