Aug 30, 2018 by The Crafty Caregiver
Diminishing vision can be devastating in itself, but it also tends to be a major contributor to loss of independence.
Simple daily tasks, such as reading, cooking or picking out clothes for the day are naturally taken for granted. Nonetheless, common undertakings can become major challenges for an aging adult with diminishing vision. The inability to accomplish simple daily activities can make independent living difficult, or sometimes impossible.
Risk of vision loss increases as we age. Even though vision loss isn’t a “normal” part of aging, it’s a possibility that can strike fear in an adult. Vision loss is especially devastating when it leads to loss of independence. It’s distressing for any adult, but also tough on the family and loved ones that want to be able to help.
Studies show that aging adults with low vision suffer even more as they attempt to accomplish things that they recall being easy for them at one time. For example, driving will need to cease for low-vision adults long before friends of the same age would decide to stop. Without the ability to drive, arrangements have to be made for errands and social events. A low-vision adult has to find help with routine things like personal finances or even light housework. People who struggle with eyesight tend to walk and go outdoors less than other aging adults, which eventually leads to an increased likelihood of falling.
In addition to their vision challenges, mature adults who are sedentary may develop diabetes, heart disease or stroke, as a result of their inactivity. Low-vision seniors typically just aren’t as active as adults with normal eyesight, unless they have assistance.
It’s a slippery slope downward unless the aging adult finds adequate care. A weakened adult, as a result of their sedentary lifestyle, can lead to depression and anxiety. A vicious cycle gets created when depression causes the older person to decline even more activities. An older adult’s depression and anxiety sometimes restrict their activities more than the original vision problems!
Thankfully, we have good news to share… Professional help is accessible to visually-impaired seniors. Physicians have new options to prescribe therapies that include better management of vision problems. Adults can learn new coping skills and the use of modern visual aids that allow them to remain active.
A satisfying life can return to a visually-impaired adult when the support of family, friends, and caregivers is accepted. A sense of freedom can be regained if there is transportation and assistance that gets the adult out of the home and less isolated!