Making Life Easier for People with Low Vision
As we age, our vision naturally starts to decline. This can make everyday tasks difficult, especially for seniors with low vision. Below are some easy ways you can extend the health of your eyes, as well as tips to make life easier for seniors with low vision.
Monitor Visual Health
As you age, it's important to take steps to protect your eyesight. Here are ways you can reduce your risk for eye issues and keep your eyes healthy as you age:
- Get regular eye exams– Even if you don't appear to have any vision problems, it's important to get your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once every two years. This ensures problems can be detected early and treated before they cause serious damage.
- Wear sunglasses–Ultraviolet light can damage your eyes, so always wear sunglasses when outdoors. Look for glasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Eat healthy foods– Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is good for your overall health, including your eyesight. Antioxidant-rich foods, like leafy greens and oranges, are especially beneficial for eye health.
- Quit smoking– Smoking is bad for your health in general, but it's especially harmful to your eyes. Smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts and other vision problems. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your eye health.
Helping Seniors Accept Visual Changes
Unfortunately, many seniors are in denial about or reluctant to concede to visual changes, which can lead to feelings of isolation and anxiety. However, there are ways to help seniors accept and adapt to these changes. One way is to encourage seniors to stay active and engaged. Regular exercise can help improve vision, and engaging in social activities helps reduce feelings of isolation that often accompany vision loss. Furthermore, it is important to be patient with seniors as they accept their new reality. Give them ample time to adjust to changes in their environment. It is also important for caregivers to make sure they are caring for themselves. According to Pris Rogers, program manager of visionaware.org, a website for individuals living with vision loss, caregivers are often just as confused and overwhelmed by their loved ones’ visual changes as the ones experiencing the changes are.
Tips to Help Seniors with Low Vision
- Having good lighting is key– Always try to maintain a well-lit area. To improve contrast and minimize glare, employ specialized lights/bulbs, and, when feasible, try to cover reflective surfaces with non-reflective materials. Make sure your loved one has adequate lighting for all of their hobbies. Direct task lighting is ideal for activities like reading, playing cards or crafting. Consider using a tiny gooseneck or clip-on lamp for these chores. Undercounter illumination is perfect for lighting larger work areas in the kitchen and elsewhere.
- Attempt to minimize fall risks– Place nightlights in bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms to prevent falls during the night. Get rid of clutter and hazards, such as loose rugs and cords. Think about swapping out or moving furniture that is low to the ground or hard to see, like glass coffee tables. Make sure there are wide paths throughout the house, which are even and clear for easy walking. If you have to reposition large areas of their living space, be sure to give your senior extra help and time to get used to the new layout.
- Keep the house organized– Designate areas for frequently used things and ensure items are returned to the same location every time, so your loved one always knows where things are. Make use of baskets to make it easier to locate items like keys, remotes for electronics and other objects that might be needed regularly.
Lifestyle changes like these can be difficult on anyone, and especially on seniors, but following the tips above can greatly improve their quality of life. Be sure to consult with a doctor before making any changes to your vision care or the vision care of anyone under your supervision.
Articles in this newsletter are meant to be informative, enlightening and helpful to you. While all information contained herein is meant to be completely factual, it is always subject to change. Articles are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. Benefits may not be available in all membership levels. For more information, or to upgrade your membership, please call 800.387.9027.