There are many changes that take place for seniors and their bodies as they grow older, but one possible change that often troubles seniors is vision loss.
While total loss of vision in the form of blindness is not something that all seniors will face, changes in vision and different manifestations of visual impairment are a common part of aging. The realities of visual impairment or complete vision loss can be challenging for seniors to accept, and the changes and adjustments to their lifestyles that need to be made can be overwhelming for both seniors and their caregivers. Identifying and attending to issues that may arise related to vision loss can help seniors in Edmonton to put strategies and structures into place that can help them continue to live active and fulfilling lives despite changes in vision.
Signs of Changes in Vision
Vision changes often occur in a gradual way. Families, friends, and caregivers of seniors should remain attentive and aware of changes or behaviours that may be early signs of vision-loss or visual impairment, such as:
- Being a little bit off when reaching for items
- Knocking things over or bumping into them
- Squinting when looking at people or things
- Walking hesitantly as though the way isn’t clear
It can feel as though changes in eyesight change even the most mundane aspects of daily life, and it is for this reason that learning to adjust and deal with vision-loss often involves incorporating numerous strategies to help seniors set themselves up in a way that allows them to maintain independence.
Modifying the Environment
Seniors living at home can alter and adjust the environment they live in, as well as the features within it, to make dealing with vision-loss more manageable.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make Use of Colour: Using contrasting colours around the house or to distinguish similar items from one another can help seniors navigate their environments.
Along with making the home environment more navigable and comfortable for seniors with visual impairments, there are other considerations that can help manage changes in vision as they come about.
- Eat for Healthy Eyes: Various nutrients from foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, citrus fruits, and whole grains can help support eye-health.
- Keep Eyes Protected: Take precautions, such as wearing sunglasses when outside, to protect eyes from damage and keep them healthy.
- 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.
Developing visual impairments or experiencing total vision loss are hard realities to encounter, but they do not mean that seniors can no longer keep up their independence or hold on to control over their own lives. Making use of the various resources, strategies, and support systems available in Edmonton can help seniors explore and determine what adjustments need to be made to accommodate their new level of vision, while also promoting continued independence, happiness, and fulfillment.