Dear Annie: I started seeing someone recently. “Matthew” is a perfect gentleman in many respects, but he has one habit that I find very rude and jarring: He burps, frequently, and sometimes without even covering his mouth. We sit down to watch a movie together after dinner, and all I can focus on is his constant gurgles next to me on the couch. The relationship is still relatively new, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but this is a serious turnoff. What should I tell him? – Excuse You
Dear Excuse You: Don’t be too quick to judge: It might not be his fault. Frequent belching can be a sign of acid reflux, which might seem like a minor condition now; however, in the long term it can cause serious damage to the esophagus if left untreated. The next time he’s having these attacks of indigestion, suggest that he talk to his doctor about it, thus bringing his attention to the issue while also showing that you care – a win-win.
Dear Annie: Today, I’d like to share some insights concerning bathroom safety. My wife and I are senior citizens, and we sometimes have dizzy spells while in the shower. We used to have a rubber mat on the floor of the shower, but I noticed that the mat became very slippery, which happens over time due to the fats in the bath soap. Seniors should be careful to make sure their bath mat isn’t slippery and should replace it if it is.
We’ve also found that it helps if we wash our faces prior to showering, so that we don’t have to wash our faces in the shower, as this tends to be when the dizzy spells occur (because our eyes are closed). Also, I recommend installing a hand-held showerhead and hose so that the water can be directed wherever you wish.
But I think the most helpful thing for us has been buying a chair that is designed to fit in a tub or shower stall. This allows us to clean ourselves while sitting. They’re about $40 and are very lightweight so that they can be removed from the tub or shower enclosure easily. I hope these suggestions are helpful and avoid hurtful accidents, especially to our seniors. – Al R.
Dear Al: The bathroom can be a dangerous place even for young folks. The CDC reports that 235,000 people visit the emergency room for accidents they suffered in the bathroom every year. But of course, the danger increases with age, and seniors should take every precaution to make the bathroom a safer place, from installing handrails to using a shower chair, as you suggest. The AARP has an extensive “Bathroom Checklist” on their website that goes into greater depth.
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