There’s no way around it, loosing eyesight is tough. If you are a caregiver to a senior or have an elderly loved one with poor eyesight, there are things you can do to help. While every senior will have different preferences on how they prefer to be supported, having various tips in your back pocket can be valuable for the both of you.
Hints and Tips
- Don’t assume how much they can or cannot see. There are different degrees of visual impairment and the ability to see may vary depending on factors such as environment, lighting etc. Only 4% of those registered as blind have no sight at all.
- Always face the person you are speaking to. Voices can easily sound unclear when you are not directly facing a senior who has poor eyesight. Try not to move around too much when in conversation.
- Don’t be afraid to offer help. Everyone needs help from time to time. Though we want our loved ones to keep as much independence as possible, sometimes assistance is necessary and appreciated.
- Address by name in groups. Even when one other person is added to the conversation, it can be difficult to differentiate who is addressing who. Use names especially when asking questions so that everyone is clear who the question is for.
- Check which side to guide. When guiding, be sure to ask if they have a preference on which side you stand on.
- Hold your arm still. Moving your arm around when guiding can make them feel unstable. Try to relax your arm while keeping it steady as possible.
- Follow their Pace. Match the pace of the person you are guiding being aware not to accidentally push or pull.
- Speak Clearly. Speak clearly and naturally without raising your voice unless otherwise instructed.
- Explain Noises. When a loud or unusual sound occurs, give them the visual information they are missing.
- Describe what’s happening. Let them know what is happening around them when out in pubic.
- Inform when stepping away. Even when stepping away momentarily, be sure to inform the visually impaired where you are going and when you will return.
- Use body language. Body language is natural, purposely refraining from it may cause your tone of voice to change without you realizing it.
Do you help a senior with poor eyesight? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.