Vision loss is a change that many seniors face in older age that can involve some difficult adjustments.
While complete loss of vision in the form of blindness is not something that all seniors will face, changes in vision and different forms of visual impairment are a common part of the aging process. Visual impairment or total vision loss can bring about significant challenges for seniors, and there are often many adjustments to lifestyle that must be made to address these challenges. Recognizing and addressing concerns that may come into play concerning vision loss can help seniors in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge to implement strategies and tools that can support them as they continue to live active and enriching lives despite changes in vision.
Signs of Changes in Vision
Vision changes often take place over time in a gradual manner. Families, friends, and caregivers of seniors should keep track of observations of changes or behaviours that might be early signs of vision-loss or visual impairment, such as:
- Walking hesitantly as though the way isn’t clear
- Squinting when looking at people or things
- Knocking things over or bumping into them
- Being a little bit off when reaching for items
Changes in eyesight can feel as though they change even the smallest and simplest aspects of everyday life, and it is for this reason that learning to make changes to deal with vision-loss often involves integrating numerous different strategies to help seniors arrange things in a way that allows them to keep their independence.
Modifying the Environment
Seniors living at home can make purposeful changes and adjustments to their home environment, as well as to the features within it, to make living with vision-loss safer and more manageable.
- Keep it Tidy: Minimizing clutter and having designated areas to store items after every use can help seniors find what they are looking for when things get tougher to see. Keeping remotes, keys, wallets, purses, and other frequently accessed items in the same place all the time will help eliminate difficulty finding them.
- Make Use of Colour: Using contrasting colours around the house or to distinguish similar items from one another can help seniors navigate their environments.
- Make It Bigger: Find ways to enlarge the sizes of pertinent text or numbers so that seniors can navigate appliances and other household items. Find remotes with larger buttons, clocks with larger numbers, ensure medication labels have large text, and that appliances have large buttons or tactile indicators.
- Light The Way: Ensuring that all rooms in the house are properly lit and that there are night-lights for overnight can help seniors guide themselves through the house.
- Clear The Way: Arrange furniture in an appropriate way, and remove anything that may create a hazard for tripping and falling if seniors can’t see it.
- Make Entertainment Accessible: Set seniors up with entertainment that is easy to access despite visual impairment. Choose large print or braille books, make TVs and DVD players easy to use by ensuring they have largely labelled buttons, try audio books, set computer screens to large sized fonts, get large-print playing cards, and make magnifying devices available.
In combination with adjustments to the home environment that make it more easily navigable and safe for seniors with visual impairments, there are other behavioural and lifestyle considerations that can help manage changes in vision.
- See The Ophthalmologist Routinely: Not only does seeing the ophthalmologist on a regular basis help keep tabs on changes in vision, it also helps to ensure that overall eye-health is being assessed and attended to.
- Keep Eyes Protected: Take precautions, such as wearing sunglasses when outside, to protect eyes from damage and keep them healthy.
- Eat for Healthy Eyes: Various nutrients from foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, citrus fruits, and whole grains can help support eye-health.
Developing visual impairments or facing the realities of total vision loss are hard circumstances to deal with, but they do not mean that seniors must lose their independence or can no longer keep a sense of control over their own lives. Utilising of the numerous resources, strategies, and support systems available in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge can help seniors to address their vision loss and make any appropriate adjustments to accommodate their new level of vision, while also upholding continued independence, happiness, and enjoyment of life.
Contact us today for a Free Home Care Assessment by a Nurse to discuss how our services in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge can help support you or your loved one.