My mum’s auntie has lived alone for years and has always been completely self-sufficient. It’s been really sad in recent times to see her becoming anxious in her own home.
One of her friends had a fall in the shower and broke her wrist. Luckily her husband was home and helped to get her back on her feet and over to the hospital. No more damage was done than a broken wrist and a few days of shaky nerves, but it really stayed with my great aunt.
Sadly she was widowed a while ago and has lived alone ever since. After the news of her friend, she became extremely worried about taking baths and showers when she was alone in the house. She was concerned she’d fall too and wouldn’t be able to summon help. Her shower was one of those fixed inside a bath, and the bath itself had a high side.
Obviously we love her dearly and didn’t want her to be scared, but it wasn’t always convenient to go round daily just so that she had someone in the house for when she showered. Even between myself, my mum and my siblings, we couldn’t always manage it.
My mum realised the problem mainly surrounded her aunt’s fear of slipping in a difficult-to-navigate bathroom. If she could minimise that risk, then her aunt should be okay.
So myself and my mum did some research and realised a walk in shower was likely to be the best solution. When we told her, she just hadn’t considered it! She’s in good health, but struggles a little with arthritis (and isn’t as young as she used to be).
We showed her some pictures on my mum’s computer so she knew exactly what we meant. It’s possible to get a gorgeous, stylish shower cubicle fitted next to, or in place of a bath. That was a big factor for my great aunt, she’s really houseproud and if she want getting a new bathroom, it needed to be stylish (she actually said glorious, I’m paraphrasing). So she went for it!
The difference was immeasurable. Just the mere fact that the shower tray was slip resistant and only had a tiny step for entry improved her anxieties immensely. The shower she chose has a seat, and she went for a grab-rail too for the days her arthritis is a little challenging. She honestly couldn’t be happier.
I realise now that she was starting to question whether she could manage in her own home. It’s horrible to think fear made her doubt her own self-sufficiency. Being able to trust that she can continue to live alone with no worries has given her a new lease of life (it’s either that or the bathroom fitter she took a shine to!).
Of course, now that she doesn’t have to worry, neither do we. We’d do anything for her but it was easy to feel guilty when we couldn’t pop round daily to be there just in case. There’s no just in case now she feels safe again and she’s very happy with her ‘glorious’ bathroom!