Published: Jan 12, 2015
While the rates of eye disease and vision loss are rapidly increasing in the senior population, this does not necessarily mean that more seniors will need to be confined to homes and facilities so they can live safely. Making simple adaptations to their personal home environments can allow low-vision seniors to live independently within their own communities, which can in turn improve their overall quality of life. The American Foundation for the Blind offers a number of useful tips for modifying the home to make it a safe environment for those who suffer from vision loss.
Falls are a major risk for seniors, and fall risk increases with age. Older adults also have greater difficulty recovering from falls, which means a fall could precipitate a number of health problems. Couple this age-related increase in fall risk with vision loss, and you could have a recipe for disaster. It is therefore essential to address this risk in low-vision seniors through home modifications:
You can also help low-vision seniors remain independent and help them function with other modifications:
Many home modifications are simple and inexpensive or can be done gradually over time as the older adult loses more of his or her vision. While the lists above cover many of the broader changes, it is not comprehensive, so seniors should consult with their local associations for the blind or the references below for more information.
Offering support can also help alleviate much of the anxiety low-vision seniors may experience as their vision decreases and can help them function at near-normal levels in their own homes. While family and friends can often help, they may find it difficult to be there at the times when the senior may need it the most. Professional caregiving can help low-vision seniors manage their daily lives when family and friends are unable to be there. For more information on how in-home care can assist low-vision seniors, contact your local Comfort Keepers® today.
American Foundation for the Blind. (n.d.). Creating a comfortable environment for people with low vision. Retrieved from http://www.afb.org/info/low-vision/living-with-low-vision/creating-a-comfortable-environment-for-people-with-low-vision/235.
Bakker, R. (July 1, 2005). Household tips for people with low vision. Cornell University Program for Environmental Geriatrics. Retrieved from http://www.environmentalgeriatrics.com/pdf/handouts/household_tips_low_vision.pdf.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). The state of vision, aging, and public health in America. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/pdf/vision_brief.pdf.
National Institutes for Health Senior Health. (n.d.). Falls and older adults. Retrieved from http://nihseniorhealth.gov/falls/aboutfalls/01.html.