NATIONAL FALL PREVENTION AWARENESS DAY, Friday September 23, 2011.
When Sara Bentley climbed into the bathtub in the Arkansas home she was born in 83 years earlier, she had no idea her life was in jeopardy. She hadn’t bathed in over a week because the whole process of bathing was so stressful and scary, but to her “cleanliness was next to Godliness”. She just wanted to feel clean. But, something went horribly wrong that afternoon. Sara lost her balance. The incident caused a fracture in her pelvis, and within a year later, she was dead in a nursing home.
Her son thought this was an unusual chain of events. But, when he discovered that this happens to another senior every 15 seconds, and that his mother was only one of 20,000 who die each year from fall related injuries, he was on a mission.
America’s seniors are afraid to bathe, and most importantly they are also afraid to tell anyone about it. As a result, millions of seniors are putting themselves at risk of serious fall related injuries in and around their traditional bathtubs and shower. These findings are the result of hundreds of in-home interviews conducted by Safe Aging Advocates with Bentley Baths over the past 6 years and from discussions at the website, www.BentleyBaths.com. According to George Bentley, author of the new book Thrive Now, How to Die Young…At an Old Age, most seniors are afraid to tell anyone about their bathing or other fall risk issues for one of two reasons. Many are afraid of losing their independence or dignity because they believe that needing help means they will be forced into a nursing home. Any other seniors are in denial that they have serious loss of strength and stability. “We can easily educate the uninformed about solutions, if we can just get them to call.” says Bentley, “But it all too often requires an irreversible injury before those in denial take action. That is what killed my mom.” Bentley insists that Americans must increase our overall awareness of the magnitude of the problem. HE refers to it as “a silent epidemic.”
If fact, most people never think about the risk of a fall related injury, until it touches our lives. Just like the Bentleys’. But unlike the Bentleys, we can do something before it happens.
Bentley Baths, Ltd has been providing safe bathing technologies and aging-in-place advice for seniors and their families for over six years. They are proud to be a members of the Fall Prevention Network, NHBA Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists, and a promoters of Fall Prevention Awareness Day.