Caring for Someone with Failing Eyesight

As our family members and loved ones get older, some assistance may be required in carrying out everyday activities. When it comes to eye care, it’s important to understand what is involved in taking care of a loved one who vision is impaired. A visit to your doctor for a comprehensive eye exam will determine which optical aids will be the most beneficial. Loss of vision is a common occurrence with aging and there are a number of ways you can help.

Learn About Low Vision Aids

There are optical devices, also known as “low vision aids”, that provide a way for people with impaired vision to see more clearly. There are other devices, such as custom magnifiers, that help with reading and other close-up tasks. Devices that read text aloud may also prove to be beneficial to people who aren’t able to read with a magnifiers. Fortunately, many of these low vision aids are covered by your health insurance.

If staying up to date with the local and national news is important to your loved one, several newspapers offer large print editions for people with diminished eye sight. Digital copies of newspapers are another great option as you can increase the size of the text on a computer or tablet.

Make the Home a Safe Place

Adding more light to the home of your loved one can help improve visibility and decrease the risk of a fall. Small adjustments include:

  • Using high-wattage light bulbs and extra lamps
  • Remove clutter and rearrange some furniture
  • Write important information in large letters (emergency numbers, doctors, etc.)
  • If there are stairs, add bright colors on the steps to contrast with the floor

Help with Errands and Travel

If your loved ones’ vision is not good enough to drive, offer to take them grocery shopping, to the bank, or wherever they need to go. Depending on the city, there may not be many transportation services available to people with vision problems and disabilities. Walk a few steps ahead of your loved one. Doing so will enable them to predict the ground based on your movements and verbal cues. If there are any curbs, steps, bumps, etc., be sure to alert them ahead of time.

If you would like additional resources or advice on caring for someone with failing vision, consult with a doctor.

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