Vision loss can bring on serious changes in an elderly person’s life, especially if they have been living independently in their own home. August is National Eye Exam Month, which shines a spotlight on the importance of regular eye exams for all ages. Seniors are more likely to develop eye diseases that can lead to partial or full blindness.
Because most eye problems don’t present with obvious symptoms until they are well-developed, it can be a long time before an elderly person even starts treatment for conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and more. However, with an eye exam, a professional can identify symptoms quite early. This early diagnosis can lead to better and more effective treatments, slowing down the vision impairment.
Partial or full loss of vision can directly affect an elderly person’s ability to live independently and continue the lifestyle they once did. Things like driving, visual hobbies, watching television, and even cooking and cleaning will all be impacted. Family caregivers will need to step in and support their aging loved ones with physical help around the house. They should also prepare for heavy emotions surrounding the loss of vision and the inevitable changes to come.
One of the most effective things that family caregivers can do for vision-impaired elderly relatives is hire a senior care provider. Depending on the level of vision loss, a senior care provider can come at regular times each week to assist or provide around-the-clock care. Family caregivers and their aging relatives can make that determination as they evaluate what is needed in the home for the senior to stay safe, comfortable, and happy.
It’s important for the elderly adult to remain as self-sufficient as possible, even if they are experiencing vision loss. A professional senior care provider can step in as needed but also maximize what the senior can do on their own. For example, a senior care provider can organize all the cupboards, drawers, and refrigerator so that every item has a place. They can ensure that all the lighting in the house is as bright as possible and add more as needed, such as in dark hallways. Senior care providers can work with the elderly adult in using magnifiers, large fonts on screens, and audio devices like alarm clocks. With assistance, vision-impaired seniors can be more independent than they think.
On the other hand, senior care providers can step in and look out for the aging adult when they face challenges that limit their abilities because of their poor vision. Senior care providers can help with bathing, dressing, housekeeping, laundry, pet care, meal preparation, grocery shopping, and driving. They can also keep an eye out for potential slip and fall hazards in the home, such as clutter, loose rugs, and protruding furniture. With a skilled senior care provider, elderly adults can certainly face any challenge with confidence, despite their visual impairment.
There’s no better time to make eye health a priority for an aging relative than during National Eye Exam Month. If the diagnosis is impending vision loss, family caregivers and their elderly loved ones can make plans to minimize the impact.