Caring For A Loved One With Vision Impairment
According to the National Federation of the Blind Fact Sheet, over 5.5 million seniors are blind or visually impaired in the U.S. With the large group of aging baby boomers, the number of blind or visually impaired seniors will likely double. Nearly 99% of people who are blind have lost their vision due to glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetes. Low vision and blindness are large, growing segments of the aging population.
Caring for an aging senior with vision impairment requires common sense, forethought, and patience. The following recommendations will help caregivers know what to focus on when it comes to caring for seniors with low vision.
- Select a recommended ophthalmologist who specializes in vision impairment/ low vision. Make regular appointments for a dilated medical eye exam so he or she can properly diagnose and treat eye conditions or diseases. Keep the ophthalmologist informed of any vision or eye changes.
- Create a healthy lifestyle that includes ample sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and minimal sweets and alcohol. Dark, leafy greens and healthy fats have nutrients that nourish the body and eyes.
- Determine what home modifications will be most helpful and make them. Removing worn or wrinkled carpet to avoid tripping is an important first step. If possible, replace with no-skid flooring. Keep furniture out of walkways and keep chairs pushed in under the table. Install grab bars in bathrooms, hallways, and for stairs. In addition, check suggestions at the American Foundation for the Blind here.
- Remove any potential hazards and eliminate clutter. Small rugs and cords can be tripping hazards. Use baskets or bins to store items that may be difficult to locate if misplaced, such as keys and remotes.
- Rooms with contrasting colors and good lighting are very important for individuals with low vision. Color contrasts between walls and furniture, and between walls and stairs can help low vision seniors to discern the difference. Using contrasting colors in the bathroom also makes it easier to distinguish towels and bath mats.
- Make sure your loved one can easily identify different medications. Select at least one or more of these ideas to implement:
- Extra large print labels
- Containers with tactile labels
- Special medication dispensers offered at pharmacies
- Prescription bottles with recorded message labels
Finally, take advantage of state and private rehabilitation services for the blind and visually impaired. These services provide training on techniques to manage independent living. The American Foundation for the Blind can help you find local services here.
If you have questions about an aging family member with impaired vision who wants to continue living independently, contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.
Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.
Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.