Case Example: Marilyn


Marilyn is 71 and lives alone. Her husband died 25 years ago and she resides in a small subsidized apartment. She has one daughter living in British Columbia and no close friends. Marilyn goes to the supermarket and the library once a week, has her hair cut every six weeks and ventures out rarely. She doesn’t drive nor does she socialize. She’s very shy and nervous. She spends hours reading, looking at television or doing crossword puzzles. ( She can do the New York Times Crossword Puzzle  in under 15 minutes.)

She rarely sleeps more than 4 hours nightly. She worries someone will break into her home, she’s anxious if someone calls with a wrong number and she cleans her apartment obsessively.


Marilyn has elevated levels of blood pressure and cholesterol, painful arthritis and mild diabetes. Besides chronic pain and bowel trouble, she is often depressed and negative. Marilyn constantly complains. She has often thought of taking a bottle of pills and ending it all. Socially isolated, her only visitor is the public health nurse who comes monthly to do foot care. The nurse has attempted many times to get Marilyn to go to the nearby seniors community centre, tried to get her into a bridge class, encouraged her to join a shallow water fitness group, but Marilyn says she doesn’t believe anything would help. Marilyn is mega stressed and in a crisis.


What a difference some lifestyle changes would make for Marilyn!

She might well benefit from some medication and psychological interventions to deal with her depression, anxiety and shyness. A very bright woman who doesn’t value her intellect, she would benefit from being drawn out, made to see how her talents could help others. With her literary abilities, she’d be a big help with writing the newsletter for the seniors community centre. That in turn would give her social contacts, and provide her with more of a purpose. There is an exercise program at the seniors centre called Gentle Gym for Arthritis, it may help to ease Marilyn’s pain. The activities at the Centre could provide  Marilyn with peer support, health improvements and a sense of purpose before her stressful conditions further endanger her health.







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