On Your Side: Elderly woman needs bath modification to stay independent

On Your Side: Elderly woman needs bath modification to stay independent

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A heartfelt plea for help from an elderly woman stricken with crippling arthritis. Grethel Hershey wants to remain in her home and stay independent for as long as she can. Her granddaughter says she desperately needs a walk-in shower.

It hurts for Hershey to move, so when she has to perform a task, it has to be something she absolutely needs to do. Taking a shower is one of those tasks.

Hershey says her mother was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 26. Pride and a strong work ethic run in the family.

"We never accepted a dime of any welfare, food stamps or anything, nothing," said Hershey. "But, I'm at wits end as to what to do."

To shower now, Hershey places a blanket on the floor beside the tub, steps on it, and hangs onto the grab bars in the shower. It's incredibly painful, she says, to lift her legs and move her body to get in and out of the tub. Her son then places a shower stool for her to sit on.

"You have to throw dignity out the window," said Hershey.

She just can't manage a shower herself, and that's stressful.

"My back just won't allow me to do it," said Hershey. "I just can't stand up very long, it just hurts so bad."

Hershey's husband died in January, and she's now fighting Social Security and doesn't have the money to make the needed bathroom changes. Asking for help is also out of character for a wife of a U.S. military veteran.

Her wish is for someone watching the struggle she has with limited movement to understand and be in a position to help.

"She couldn't do it on her own, and when I saw her crying yesterday about it, it broke my heart," said granddaughter Heather Sheffield.

"She's thinking of my safety and she loves me," said Hershey.

Call our volunteers if you are a contractor or you know a contractor who may be willing to help install a walk-in shower for the woman fighting to stay independent. The number to dial is 804-345-1212.

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