Towels, Bathroom Rugs, and Getting Older

She gingerly steps out of the shower, reaching for the towel on her side of the towel rod, making sure she does not slip on the wet floor as she dries herself off. She threw the bathroom rug away the weekend her parents came to visit, because experts say throw rugs are one of the causes of falls in the elderly. An even more sobering statistic says 85% of deaths in the elderly start with a fall.

That weekend her Dad dropped his hearing aid on the bare bathroom floor. It broke and cost him $750 to replace it. She felt bad, even a little guilty, about that for a long time. She never told him she removed the rug in anticipation of their visit.

If the word elderly is defined by age alone, she is now considered elderly. She doesn’t see herself as such, although she does try to be wise and listen to advice. Now she wonders if the experts who say “remove the throw rugs” have safe alternatives to keep her from falling on slippery, wet bathroom floors when she steps out of the shower.

She will look, hoping to find something pretty, at the same time knowing “safe” will need to win out over “pretty.” It must be something she won’t catch her toe on.  She already moved the braided, wool rug off to the side, the one her grandmother taught her how to make, one of the last times she saw her.

Carefully folding her towel into thirds she hangs it on the towel rod where two towels folded into thirds fit perfectly. She considers the rapid passing of time and wonders what it will be like to need only one towel on the towel rod someday.

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