Did your aging mom recently fall? Are your aging father’s clothes covered in spots? These could be signs that your senior parents are experiencing vision loss. Approximately one person in three has some form of vision-reduction eye disease by the age of 65.
What are some of the other things you should look for?
- Are your parents having trouble seeing at night? One of the indicators that a senior’s vision is failing can be their reluctance to drive at night. AARP offers a free online seminar called “We Need to Talk” that will help you determine how to assess your loved ones’ driving skills.
- Do they watch where they are walking more carefully at night, than during the day? Particularly going up or downstairs.
- Do they require assistance for walking? Do they shuffle? Shuffling often means they’re trying to navigate with their feet instead of their eyes.
- Do they have difficulty distinguishing colors (mismatched clothes, socks, etc.)?
- As your parents watch TV, do they blink a lot? Do they complain that the picture is blurry?
- Is there dust or dirt in your parent’s home? A loss of vision can prevent your parents from seeing spots on the counter or the dust on the coffee table.
- If your parents say things like, “Why is it so dark in here?” and “Turn on the lights” then they may be experiencing vision loss.
First, take your parents to the eye doctor. An eye doctor can determine whether the signs you are noticing are a result of aging (perhaps your parent simply needs a stronger eyeglass prescription) or if they are connected to a serious eye condition.
To make their home safer:
- Put colored tape on the edge of all steps to help your parents see them more easily.
- Use motion lights that turn on automatically when someone enters a room.
- Remove all throw rugs or any other items that could cause a fall.
- Install grab bars in all tubs and showers.