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Caring for a Senior with Vision Impairment

 

Low vision and vision loss are common occurrences in adults over the age of 60. Like other parts of the body, as you age, your eyesight weakens. Though common, living with low vision can be a scary time in a person’s life. They will ultimately need to rely on their families and/or caregivers to help them manage their impairment. It can be difficult for all involved parties but learning how to help a loved one or senior with vision problems can make the transition easier. 

Regular Exams

To treat and/or prevent vision impairments in seniors from getting worse, it is important that they have an annual eye exam. Eye exams, much like a medical physical exam are designed to help identify and/or prevent further complications with vision. 

Seek Treatment

Eye exams for seniors, especially those with impaired vision are essential to maintaining their eye health. However, visiting an ophthalmologist on a regular basis is also imperative for effective treatment. When issues are detected, many can be corrected or at the very least, dramatically reduced which can bring some relief to the patient. For instance, cataract is a condition in which the eye lens becomes clouded making your vision blurry. This does happen with age, but can be corrected, in many instances, with cataracts surgery. Failing to seek treatment, however, could result in seniors going blind. 

Preventing Falls

As they age, seniors have a higher risk of slipping and falling. However, a senior who’s vision is impaired has an even higher chance of falling and getting seriously hurt. Whether you’re a family member, a home health aide, or an employee within a nursing home, it is imperative that you be especially cautious as you try to remove objects that could cause them to get hurt. 

You can do things like installing grab bars in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to provide extra assistance with getting around, removing all clutter and debris from pathways, install more or brighter lights around the home, add bright-colored tape to the stairs so they can clearly see, purchase a walking stick or cane which can be used to check their immediate surroundings for obstacles, and remove all tripping hazards like loose floorboards, area rugs, carpeting that isn’t secure, etc. 

Home Organization

Getting organized will be key to helping a senior with impaired vision to live comfortably at home or in a senior facility. After removing all tripping hazards and putting in railings, bars, and guards to try and prevent falls, the home or room needs to be organized. Putting everything in its place helps seniors to build on their memory so they can get around and do things without getting hurt. Create common areas for everything and, if necessary, put large signs or labels on them to make it easier for seniors to see where it is located. Get them in the habit of putting things back where they got them as well so there’s no frustration later trying to find what they need. 

Every Day Tasks

A senior with low or impaired vision may have a hard time doing things for themselves like cleaning, cooking, or tending to the laundry. There are several methods that can be used to make things easier for everyone. 

You can sign them up for meal delivery services where local programs bring free and/or affordable hot meals to seniors. If there are senior community centers nearby, they often serve at least one meal a day to participants. You can also set up a weekly meal plan, and do most of your prepping and cooking on the weekends. This way, all they have to do is heat up their food and eat. 

As for cleaning and laundry, you can essentially pick a day where you’ll come and clean up around their homes. You could hire a cleaning professional such as a maid to stop by a few times a week. Lastly, you could enlist the services of a home health aide or caretaker during the day to take care of all of it for. 

Vision loss is very scary. It can also be very depressing and stressful to deal with for family members, caregivers, and seniors. The best thing you can do for all involved is to take the above-mentioned steps to care for the senior’s vision and making their home and lifestyle as accommodating as possible.