As we get older, we are more likely to encounter chronic medical conditions or health challenges. Beyond wrinkles and decreased metabolism, conditions like arthritis, cognitive decline, and high blood pressure are more likely to occur as we advance in years. For many older adults, decreased vision or complex eye conditions can arrive during aging and make living independently difficult and even dangerous.
Causes of Low Vision
Reports indicate that nearly 1 in 3 seniors over the age of 65 live with some type of vision-reducing eye disease. The majority of these seniors living with low vision did not have vision issues throughout their younger years. Conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy come later in life and seniors must learn how to live with decreased vision.
There are other conditions that can cause vision difficulties. For example, a stroke can leave a senior with partial blindness, or another neurological issue can leave vision intact but can decrease the brain’s ability to decipher what the eyes are seeing.
Challenges of Living Independently
Older adults who have low vision can certainly live at home independently. However, there are some special considerations to keep in mind in order to support the senior’s wellness, health, and safety.
Seniors with low vision are at a higher risk of falling.
Tripping is more common when an older adult lives with vision challenges. Decrease the risk of falling by ensuring main pathways throughout the home are safe from sliding rugs or uneven surfaces. Label changes in flooring (carpet to hardwood, hardwood to tile, etc.) with a bright strip of tape to enhance contrast.
Seniors with low vision are at an increased risk for nutritional deficits.
It’s more difficult to drive to the grocery store and to cook safely when living with low vision. Seniors with low vision are more likely to not eat enough or not eat as healthy as they could. Consider preparing meals to put in the fridge that are easy to microwave and do not require the person to read complex instructions in order to prepare the food.
Seniors with low vision are at an increased risk of social isolation.
Meeting a friend for coffee or going to church becomes increasingly more challenging when you can no longer drive due to low vision. While public transportation is a good option, some seniors have problems managing the scheduling process on their own.
Seniors with low vision can struggle with personal care tasks.
Lack of attention to personal hygiene can lead to skin breakdown, wounds, and feelings of embarrassment for seniors living with low vision. A helpful hand from a trained caregiver can ensure skin maintains integrity and the senior doesn’t feel frustrated after the tasks are complete.
CaringGivers Can Help
At CaringGivers, our team is ready to assist all of our clients, including those with low vision challenges. We can help with daily tasks like personal care, transportation, grocery shopping, and meal preparation, as well as healthy socialization. Our presence decreases the risk of falling and offers peace of mind by knowing we are here to help in case of emergency.
Call us today to learn more about our services.