How to plan in home care for your loved one with vision challenges

For most people, vision loss is a very gradual process, so seniors and family members may not be aware of how compromised their eyesight has become. Caregivers can help keep tabs on a loved one’s vision by looking for an increase in things like squinting, knocking objects over, less interest in reading and writing, falling or walking with a reduced pace.

To provide the best in home care for a loved one with vision challenges, you need to understand a few important criteria.

This article provides you a simple, yet comprehensive set of guidelines for the same

  1. First, the most likely diagnosis for vision loss or vision challenges for your loved one are either cataract, glaucoma, or age related macular degeneration (AMD).
    We provide additional detail on each of the above below, and what you can do in your loved one’s home to help them out.
  2. Secondly, Vision loss doesn’t just impact your eyes for your loved ones – its indirect effects are a LOT more significant. It can also raise the chances of social isolation, falls and accidents, chronic health conditions, and depression for your loved one – therefore, please do not think of this as just some challenges with seeing properly.
  3. Third, when planning for in home care for your loved on with vision loss, it is important to take a holistic approach – they don’t need a caregiver to just help them with eye drops, instead they need a carefully constructed care plan across multiple activities and times across the day, and across co-morbid chronic health conditions (like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis).

For Seniors, there are four main areas of concern for vision loss or impairment to worry about:

  1. Cataracts is a condition that causes clouding of the eye’s lens. The most common cause of cataracts is aging. By age 75, around half of all Caucasian Americans have a cataract. This statistic jumps to 75% by the age of 80.
  2. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world and the number one cause of blindness in seniors. Glaucoma occurs when fluid builds up in the front of the eye and raises eye pressure. This can put strain on the optic nerve, causing damage to it. Prevalence risk increases for African Americans over the age of 40, and everyone over age 60. Other risk factors include being diabetic or having a family history of glaucoma.
  3. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): AMD blurs central vision by impacting the macula. It is the number one cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. It is a common condition that causes a blurry spot to appear in the middle of your vision. Late-stage AMD can also make your vision appear wavy.
  4. Chronic Conditions and the eye. CDC says relative differences in prevalence of chronic conditions for those with vs. without vision impairment ranged from 11% higher for high cholesterol to 147% higher for weak or failing kidneys. For example, for Diabetes, the rise and fall of poorly controlled blood sugar levels, and the consequent damage to small blood vessels can cause vision challenges. They can range from blurry vision to retinopathy, a condition that causes blood cells in the retina to bleed. Diabetic seniors are twice as likely as others to develop glaucoma, and are also likely to develop cataracts.

To help your loved one cope with vision impairment at home, here are five high impact changes:

  1. It is absolutely critical to keep hallways and walkways open and uncluttered to reduce fall risk. Re-arrange and reduce furniture to provide for uninterrupted and easy flow of traffic
  2. Increase indoor lighting to compensate for the reduced vision (for example due to macular degeneration)
  3. Use contrast labels on important items such as medications to help make them much easier to read
  4. Increase color contrast in daily use items at home (e.g., white plates on dark tablecloth, paint steps white vs darker floor or pain them dark vs lighter carpets, use contrasting canisters from the color of the countertop)
  5. Reduce glare in your home (cover shiny hardwood floors with rugs, utilize curtains rather than blinds on windows, reduce glare from any light source in every single room including bathroom)

When planning in home care for a loved one with vision challenges, the care plan should be comprehensive and provide coverage across a full gamut of things for the person:

  1. Enable your loved one’s social interactions outside the home
    (e.g. grocery trips, doctor visits) along with a caregiver to help them get through such interactions confidently and avoid feelings of (possibly self imposed) social isolation.
  2. Plan professional caregivers for 1-1 engagement and activities of daily living at home (e.g. incl meal planning, meds, especially when co-morbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension, stroke, or dementia are involved in addition to vision challenges)
  3. A combination of professional caregivers and family members are with them across most, if not all, waking hours to help your loved one avoid feeling socially isolated or experience depression challenges from vision issues

Do you live in Dallas Fort Worth area? 

Care Mountain provides award-winning in-home care. We are a high quality in home care provider with 16 years of experience providing personalized care for 3,000+ DFW families. We have high quality, experienced caregivers available to support you and your loved ones care needs. 

Give us a call to discuss your in home care needs. 

October 30, 2021

How to plan in home care for your loved one with vision challenges

This article offers key pointers to successfully plan for how to effectively hire an in home caregiver for your loved one