Assisted Living and the Visually Impaired Senior
By CarePatrol of Nashville-Franklin
Many physical changes occur as a person ages – hearing loss, limited mobility, visual impairment, and many other changes. Research indicates that approximately 17% of adults over age 65 have some type of visual impairment. Performing daily tasks becomes much more challenging as vision decreases.
In a setting such as an assisted-living community, accommodations are available so that a senior can still be active and have a better quality of life. In our generation, technological advancements coupled with modifications within a home can make a home a safer place to live for an aging person than could be done many years ago.
For other seniors, however, transition into an assisted living community is the safest option. When a senior begins to experience physical changes related to aging such as visual deficits, an “assisted” living community can provide the “assistance” that is needed. With appropriate accommodations and supportive staff, a senior will actually have a greater sense of independence.
Increased Independence in Assisted Living
For a person who is visually impaired, daily chores and activities can become overwhelming and unsafe. For example, the stairs in a multi-level home can be dangerous if the senior is attempting to carry items while climbing up or down the stairs. Cooking with a stove/oven, bathing, vacuuming, and other activities and chores can be much more difficult.
Outside of the home, the senior who can no longer see clearly is more dependent on others to transport them to medical appointments, shopping, and church. Others also often help the senior become oriented to any new place that the senior has never visited. Examples include a new grocery store, restaurant, or mall. All assisted living communities are accessible; in other words, one-level or accessed by elevator if multi-level. This accessibility makes everyday living much safer.
A senior can live more independently in an assisted living community in the following ways:
- Nutritious meals and snacks are prepared to enhance health
- Assistance with personal care as needed such as bathing, dressing, mobility
- Assistance with household chores such as laundry and cleaning tasks
- Transportation is provided for social activities and medical appointments
A Better Quality of Life for Seniors with Visual Deficits
A senior with vision loss will have a higher quality of life in an assisted living community. Seniors may have remained isolated in their homes due to embarrassment about their inability to groom and dress as well as in the past. Or seniors may have remained isolated due to having no rides to social events or religious activities. In an assisted living community, a senior is surrounded by other seniors who often have similar physical and cognitive challenges. There can be less embarrassment and anxiety because of this sameness as new friendships are developed. Whether it be formal activities such as meals or informal conversations with other residents, a senior who has been isolated can begin to re-connect with others.
How To Care For Your Vision As You Get Older
How do we care for our vision throughout our lives? Of utmost importance is a yearly examination with a vision specialist such as an ophthalmologist as we age. IF yearly exams occur, vision problems are identified during the early stages and can be treated more effectively. Examples include cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Schedule an appointment today!