Caring for a Parent with Vision LossJuly 25, 2017
It can be difficult watching a parent as they navigate through their elderly years. While some milestones fill a child with rapture—such as the excitement their parent experiences after doing something their heart desires after years of putting it off—other moments can be heart wrenching. Watching as your parent losses part or all of their vision is one of those very long moments. The good news: there are many who have gone before you as caregivers of parent’s whose sight has diminished. Follow these tips that have worked in the past to help your parent thrive in the future.
It doesn’t really matter what the cause is. If your parent’s sight is diminishing, both of you are aware of the severity of the loss and are seeking treatment to limit the progression as much as possible. Many of the diseases that can rob a person’s sight—glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts—are considered “thieves in the night,” offering little to no symptoms until loss of sight is evident and irreversible. Once found, there are medications, diet and exercise programs that can often slow down the progression of the disease and help limit the effects on vision. Yearly comprehensive eye exams are the only way to detect these diseases early enough to limit damage.
How to Help
- Sign them up for a sight rehabilitation program. Though your parent will not get their sight back, they will learn invaluable techniques that will help them discover how to safely live independently.
- Make their home safe. This is accomplished by making sure all common used pathways throughout their home are cleared of any tripping or slipping hazards such as throw rugs or impeding furniture. Contrast helps your parent with what vision they have remaining. Using this concept, place yellow strips at the edge of stairs and paint door and window frames a contrasting color to the wall. Make sure their home is exceptionally well lit and consider installing motion sensor lighting.
- Help them join a support group. Your parent is likely going through a wide range of emotions. Joining a group in which others know what they are going through and can offer suggestions as well as companionship does wonders for a person experiencing this type of loss.
- Help them around the house while letting them be as self-reliant as possible. This is a fine line and one that will be navigated in countless ways a number of times. Having a heart-to-heart talk can help diminish your parent’s fears. Letting them know that you do not consider the valuable time spent with them a burden can do wonders for their esteem.
- Get additional help. Your parent will require time to adapt and learn a new set of life skills. During this time, consider hiring an elderly care provider who can assist with the everyday activities of living while still helping your parent to remain as independent as possible. They also provide transportation and run errands. Your parent will come to not only appreciate the help, but cherish the companionship.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Westchester, NY, contact Star One Home Care and Medical Staffing at 718-733-2222 or 914-362-0899. Call today!
Patricia started her nursing career 19 years ago at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and research institution in New York City, and since then has gained experience in Adult Intensive Care Units (ICU) , Pediatric Care (PICU ), Operating Room (OR) , mental health and community settings. She later moved into director of nursing roles, where she obtained extensive experience in leading and developing the nursing profession. She also pioneered good partnership working with other health care organizations, as well as social services, and the wider community.