Caring for Someone with Macular Degeneration
Caring for a parent, sibling, or friend with macular degeneration includes helping with physical and mental needs. You have to be prepared to cook healthy meals, provide transportation and listen.
The adjustment can be difficult for both the sufferer and caregiver as vision deteriorates to blurred vision, and possibly, to complete vision loss. Here are five tips for caring for your loved one with macular degeneration.
1. Find a Low-Vision Specialist
Trained in the management of patients with visual impairments, a low-vision specialist is a licensed optometrist who evaluates the degree of vision loss. A specialist teaches sufferers about non-optical adaptive devices like proper light fixtures and clocks to incorporate into your home in order to help ease the symptoms of macular degeneration.
2. Learn about Macular Degeneration
Research macular degeneration so you can understand what it looks like when the macula, the most sensitive and central part of the eye, isn’t working properly—causing images to seem unclear. You’ll be able to empathize with your loved one and engage in meaningful conversation. Also research support groups for the sufferer. Support groups give sufferers the opportunity to vent their frustrations and learn how others are coping with low vision.
3. Be Watchful
It’s common for people diagnosed with macular degeneration to feel angry, shocked, stressed, and sad. But if these symptoms persist for longer than a few months, contact a doctor. Keep in mind that watching a loved one and hovering are not the same thing. The sufferer needs time to come to terms with their diagnosis alone.
4. Make Home Adjustments
Remove obstructions in your home such as unnecessary doors, rugs and coffee tables. Provide natural lighting and reduce glare for optimal eyesight. Contrast is also a great way to set up the home for someone with macular degeneration. For instance, pair a brightly colored toothbrush with a white background to help your loved one find it easily.
5. Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
People who suffer from macular degeneration should stay active. Yoga, walking and riding a stationary bike are great, non-intimidating ways for people with macular degeneration to keep their heart pumping. Encourage them to eat foods that contain carotenoids including sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, spinach and corn. Carotenoids can reduce the risk of eye disease and certain cancers.