Vision loss and different types of eye problems afflict many Americans of all ages. Seniors are particularly affected with about half the number of blind people being 65 years of age and older according to the National Federation of the Blind. There is a fair chance you have a good friend or relative with some type of eye condition. You have good options on how to help them cope.
Seniors and their families can choose to live in assisted living facilities or nursing homes or so-called senior citizens’ villages where they can be taken care of around the clock. These places have particular arrangements for blind people in a structured environment and many have benefited from them.
However, many people would prefer to stay in their own homes and become independent despite the restrictions placed on them by their visual disability. If you have a family member who is visually impaired who prefers to stay home then like most people you would probably do anything to help accommodate this wish.
You have the option to avail of Personal Care Assistant (PCA) services and professional caregivers who can guide and accompany them while they adjust to a deteriorating eye condition, recover from eye surgery, or to help them manage day-to-day challenges at home for those who have long been blind. Home care support can cover many aspects in taking care of visually impaired persons.
There are people who have limited eyesight who can still take care of themselves quite independently. Yet for others personal self care becomes challenging simply because they have completely lost their vision. PCAs and home carers can assist these individuals in their activities of daily living or ADLs such as bathing, grooming, dressing, transferring, eating and voiding/toileting. They can be specially trained to help maintain personal hygiene of those with poor vision. This is on top of their basic training on administering personal care or how to handle emergencies.
Blind people who have gone to blindness training and rehabilitation are much more adaptable to their physical surroundings. They move about with relative ease indoors and outdoors using canes and by memorizing spaces. Those with residual vision can be most adept at getting around. Yet for many who have completely lost their vision or who are just coming off from rehab, getting around is quite daunting. Thankfully in-home caregivers can act as their eyes to move around safely in and around the house. In some occasions, they can drive and accompany their visually impaired clients to a doctor’s office or a local chapter convention for the blind for some socialization.
Reading and Access to Information
Visually impaired persons are encouraged to learn Braille, use reading tools, audio books and materials to maintain literacy. Technology has allowed them to still have access to information and has helped them overcome their loss of vision. PCAs can guide them in using large print books, magnification tools, talking newspapers, Braille materials and play audio tracks from smartphones. These PCAs can even read aloud directly to a blind person or record stories and bits of information. Having a personal, human element hand in hand with using technology can be a potent combination for a blind person struggling to achieve self-sufficiency or simple enjoyment.
Managing Kitchen and Household Tasks
The kitchen can be a specially challenging place for the visually impaired. A personal caregiver can lessen the anxiety by helping in cooking and preparing meals safely. It can be quite a chore for blind people in having to cook or bake but with someone’s steady voice and hand and a little patience, those recipes in mind can turn into delicious meals for eating at the dinner table. Knives with adjustable guides for safely cutting slices and devices that beep when a hot liquid overflows and other gadgets make the kitchen a little safer but there is no substitute for another pair of eyes to guide the blind person. A PCA can also be assigned for general cleaning, simple household tasks and overall upkeep of the home depending on the agreement.
Organizing Things and Safety
Keeping things clean and tidy can prevent many mishaps at home. Home care attendants eliminate clutter, secure rugs and wires, and keep stairways and most living spaces well-lit. The latter is particularly useful for those with residual vision who is still relying on lighting and visual cues in moving about. With permission, caregivers can also clean cabinets, closets and drawers to keep things in order. Using tactile boards to list reminders or talking clocks keep the blind person oriented. There are other mundane tasks and situations at home which can prove difficult or even dangerous for a visually impaired person. Thankfully, someone like a PCA or a professional caregiver can help the individual stay safe at all times.
Home care services can provide trustworthy PCAs to take care of your family member who is visually impaired. Together with blindness training, rehabilitation and plenty of encouragement and support from family and friends, they can prove that they can remain independent, free to enjoy life, work effectively, and show that they still have a lot to offer to the world.