One of my children was in my shower last week on a day when I was in a hurry to get ready for an appointment. Out of desperation, I used the shower in the kids’ bathroom. Man, that’s a small shower compared to mine. As I washed my hair, my elbows were hitting the glass doors and the tile walls. I also noticed there is a lot of water going out of the lower tub faucet in addition to flowing out of the shower head above, quite wasteful. The floor of the shower was pretty slick; the grip stripes on the floor had worn down over time and I made a mental note to put a non-slip mat in there. The shower was in need of some attention and I was surprised that my older children don’t complain regularly about the size of the shower. It was a useful bathing experience because I saw what my kids are dealing with and what issues needed to be addressed.

If you have older or disabled loved ones who are living on their own, it might be helpful to them if you spent some time exploring their world from their perspective. Like my children, you might discover that your loved ones aren’t saying anything about some of their challenges because people often come to accept daily problems as normal. People adapt as the problem grows without even realizing it.

During your exploration you might notice your mom has trouble moving around the house with a walker because the throw rugs she has are catching the back of the walker. Your dad might have trouble seeing what food is available in the refrigerator because the interior light is burned out and his eyes aren’t able to see well in the dark. Or maybe your grandmother is resisting bathing because there is no shower chair or grab bars in the bathroom and she is afraid to fall. Most problems you discover might be simple fixes; others may require labor or money to make your loved one’s life easier and safer. You can give yourself a little peace of mind if you take the time to investigate.

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