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Sept 21, 1984

The Elderly Neighbor

JAMA. 1984;252(11):1414. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350110020021

We bought a new house four years ago in an older Chicago neighborhood. After a couple of months, our children, all of whom are under 7 years, made the acquaintance of an elderly gentleman three doors down. At age 88, the fellow was very spry, and outgoing and friendly with the children. A widower for many years who had no close relatives, he cared for himself, drove a car, and managed his own financial affairs. Last year he had a bad fall in one of the early snows. As it turned out, this was secondary to diplopia accompanying the onset of myasthenia gravis. He experienced a difficult acute phase that required a long hospitalization, yet was subsequently stabilized on medication and he remained totally independent.

A few months later he fell in his basement. He got a bad cut on his head and hurt his hand as well, but was