RITCHIE’S STORY: Sure-footed in the bathroom

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When I found out the bathroom is one of the easiest places for a senior to fall, I immediately thought of my aging grandfather. Although he is 89 years old, nonno is still independent. Since my grandma passed away from a heart attack three years ago, he’s been living on his own and doing great. He drives to the mall everyday, and he loves to go play the slots, watch the horses, or do anything else that keeps him socially active.

However, I’ve recently noticed he has been slowing down a bit, and he is not quite as sure-footed as he used to be. About a month ago when we were going to the deli for lunch, he seemed to be slower and more nervous walking than usual, and he nearly tripped when we crossed the road. I know how much nonno cherishes his freedom. He has always had this do-it-yourself attitude that I’ve admired, and I know it would eat him up inside if he had to rely on others to do what he can do himself. 

After our outing, we chatted and he agreed that he wasn’t as steady as he used to be. Together, we decided to install safety devices in his bathroom and to get an emergency response telephone. We hired a contractor who put grab bars next to and inside the shower and bathtub as well as a slip- resistant coating on the floor. 

These simple, little changes will go a long way to helping him maintain his independence and dignity, which is very important for both of us. Prevention is vital, and nonno deserves to live out his golden years as a healthy, happy man.

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