If you are caring for an elderly parent or loved one, it is likely that they will develop cataracts. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss, affecting about half of individuals over the age of 70.
Common symptoms of cataracts are blurred vision, double vision, difficulty seeing at night, the appearance of halos and faded colors. Vision loss can make it very challenging to perform daily activities such as reading, driving, shopping and house cleaning. As a caregiver, there are many steps that you can take to support the independence and safety of your loved one.
- Driving- Your loved one may not feel comfortable driving anymore. Help out by driving on certain days of the week, and ask for other family members to offer their services as well.
- Household Chores- Even doing small tasks like dishes, laundry and vacuuming can be difficult when dealing with vision loss. Ask your loved one which tasks he or she would like help with and come over regularly to provide assistance.
- Cooking and Cleaning- If you cannot help with all the cooking and cleaning, consider hiring a service to provide house cleaning or meal preparation. Cooking, especially, can be dangerous for someone with vision loss.
- Preventing Falls- One of the most dangerous side effects of vision loss is falling. Hip fractures are not only dangerous; they can be deadly. Rearrange furniture so there are wide, clear paths for walking. Evaluate flooring to see if there are any slippery or uneven areas that need attention. It may be a good idea to install railings on all stairways and grab bars in bathrooms.
June is Cataract Awareness Month, so talk to your loved one about how you can provide support and assistance. Being a caregiver can be physically and emotionally demanding, and it is understandable that you need a break sometimes. Give some thought to hiring an in-home caregiver so you can have some time to take care of your own needs as well (Source: Griswold Home Care).