Helping your Aging Parent with Vision Loss
Four common eye diseases often affect the elderly and can result in loss of or low vision. These include glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. This type of vision loss cannot be regained with glasses, contacts or surgery and often results in the decreasing ability to perform the everyday tasks of living. According to the American Council of the Blind, “Nearly 3.5 million Americans over 40 have some degree of vision loss, most commonly from age-related conditions. This number is expected to double in the next few decades as the baby boomers grow older. In addition, 7 million Americans over the age of 65 have severe visual impairment. “
Vision Rehabilitation Programs
These programs are designed to help your loved one live an independent and productive life. They teach essential skills that help those with low vision adapt to their environment and manage their households. They provide solutions for communication issues which, depending on the severity of their loss, may include large print, audio solutions, or Braille. They offer suggestions for mobility to ensure they remain safe and can travel independently.
Help ensure that their home is as safe as possible and allows for easy navigation. If they are using a walker, make sure that all pathways and doorways allow them to pass through their home unhindered. Remove any tripping or slipping hazards such as throw rugs, furniture that is obstructing pathways, and clutter. Trace pathways from each room that your parent commonly walks to ensure clear navigating. Install grab bars in the appropriate places such as the shower and by the toilet. Increase lighting and consider installing motion sensors.
Contrasting colors helps those with low vision. For instance, a beige couch against a beige wall may be difficult to see. Look throughout their home for ways you can alter their environment to create contrasting colors. This may include painting door trim a different color as well as placing a yellow stripe across the edge of all steps. Rehabilitation teachers often provide this service of checking a person’s home and making necessary suggestions or improvements.
Elder Care Provider
An elder care provider can assist your parent with the everyday activities of living. This includes bathing, dressing, meal preparation, running errands, providing transportation and performing light housekeeping. They can help your loved one live as independently as possible by providing interactive care that allows your parent to participate in all activities that do not jeopardize their safety. They provide the companionship that is so important to those experiencing the sometimes drastic changes that aging brings.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care on the Main Line, contact the caring professionals at Reliant At Home Care today (610) 674-6860.