Glaucoma is a serious eye disease affecting an estimated 3 million people in the United States. When left untreated, glaucoma can lead to blindness. If your aging parent, spouse, or another family member has glaucoma, they could most likely use your help. Living with impaired vision caused by glaucoma is very challenging, but thankfully there are things you can do to make your loved one's life easier. Here are six tips for helping a loved one who has glaucoma:
Purchase Low Vision Aids
One of the most frustrating aspects of glaucoma is losing the ability to easily read, engage in hobbies, use the computer, or watch television. Luckily, magnifying devices and other low vision aids for everything from reading to knitting can be purchased these days, and they can often be customized specifically for your loved one and their vision needs.
In many cases, these devices are even covered by insurance for those suffering from glaucoma and other vision difficulties. These devices can be complemented by text-to-speech programs for computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices. Text-to-speech allows your loved one to send text messages and emails, navigate the internet, and more, without relying on reading.
Set up Bright Lighting
With reduced vision, your loved one will need some extra light in order to see. Replace any dim lights with high wattage ones, and add extra lighting where needed. In particular, it's important for the bathroom, kitchen, and any area where they will be reading or performing work to be well-lit.
Help With Errands
As your loved one's glaucoma progresses, they may no longer be able to drive or otherwise get around all that easily. They may feel uncomfortable asking for rides or help with errands, so be proactive and offer your help. Even a weekly run to the grocery store and bank can help your relative immensely. Make sure they also have rides to their doctor visits.
If you are unable to drive them as often as they need, try to enlist the help of other family members or friends. Your loved one may also be able to get rides from programs funded by the government and other agencies. This guide is a good place to start.
Create Clear, Safe Paths at Home
One simple, but very important way to help your loved one out is to make their home more safely navigable. Clean up clutter and help create a clean, organized home. You may want to rearrange furniture and remove area rugs if these become obstacles for your loved one when they're trying to get around their home. Be sure to talk to them before you move their things around, to make sure it's okay with them and also because they will best know which items are getting in their way.
Incorporate Contrasting Colors
Contrasting colors used throughout the home can make it easier for your relative to see and differentiate between different objects. An example of where this can be helpful is placing tape in a contrasting color on each stair in the home, so they can easily see where the next step is when going up or downstairs.
Don't Ignore Emotional Needs
Losing your vision can be a very emotionally challenging time. Relying on others and losing control over an important aspect of life can lead to feelings of vulnerability and anxiety. Let your loved one know you're there any time they need someone to confide in. If your relative becomes depressed, help them find resources, such as counseling, that may help.
By following these six tips, you can help your family member with glaucoma live a more productive and stress-free life. For more ideas and tips about your loved one's glaucoma visit sites like http://www.checdocs.org.