Over 3 million Americans are affected by glaucoma, a family of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and can cause permanent eye damage. Because of the prevalence of glaucoma, you may be a caregiver for a parent or loved one who has recently been diagnosed with the disease. You may have many questions about the disease and feel burdened with deep concerns for your loved one. Be encouraged that there is a wealth of information and resources available so you can give your loved one the appropriate reassurance and support that is needed (Source: Care Assist Solutions).
Here are some tips to help you in your caregiving:
- Reassure your loved one that glaucoma is treatable. Having glaucoma does not mean that all vision will be lost. Glaucoma patients can still do many of the activities they have always enjoyed if they are willing to follow their eye treatment plan and visit their specialist regularly.
- Find a reputable ophthalmologist who specializes in glaucoma. Your loved one will require frequent eye care appointments, so find an eye doctor with whom your loved one feels comfortable and confident.
- Attend appointments and procedures. Offer to drive your loved one to appointments and take notes during doctor appointments. If surgery is required, you can offer tremendous support at pre-operative and post-operative appointments as well as on the day of the procedure.
- Assist with medication and treatment plan. Your loved one may feel overwhelmed with new medication regimens and instructions, so offer to help with the treatment plan until your loved one can independently follow all doctor recommendations.
- Pick up the phone. Phone calls can be very helpful as your loved one adjusts to a new routine. Whether you are making reminder calls for medication or just calling to give encouragement, your gift of caring will make a tremendous difference.
- Help with household chores. If your loved one is experiencing vision challenges, you may need to lend a hand with cleaning, cooking, paying bills, and doing laundry.
- Ask for help. You cannot do all the caregiving by yourself or you will experience burnout. Enlist the help of other family members and friends so you can rotate responsibilities and provide a strong network of support.