This blog is a service of Travis Keller and Carol Liege. We’re concerned about aging friends and relatives whose vision is slipping from age-related (or other) conditions and aren’t aware of all the things that can be done to make life safer, easier, more independent and more joyful after the doctor and optometrist are finished with their part. We figured there are lots of people like us who’d like to know what more can be done.
From Editor Carol: Long before my own vision or my friends’ vision was an issue for me, my daughter Jessica was deeply concerned with this issue. Her first job out of Occupational Therapy training at USC was in the Geriatrics Department at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, where she helped older people with all sorts of conditions related to aging do whatever they needed to do to remain safe, comfortable, and independent.
She thought the most debilitating of all the things that can happen to us as we age is a low vision condition such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy – the things most likely to rob us of our ability to live independently. And with millions of us Baby Boomers aging, there’s an epidemic of those things!!!
Jess went on to help start a Low Vision Rehabilitation program at UCLA, and my friends and I went on to get older and start having problems like those. I haven’t developed any specific conditions (yet), but just my deteriorating close-up vision has become debilitating. If I misplace my glasses — Heaven forbid! — I can’t always find them again. In fact, I had to go get heavier frames that contrast better with my furniture and are easier to see.
That’s one of the things I learned from Jess: increase the contrast. There are several things I’ve done around the house so the things I need to find stand out better. I’ve helped friends “redecorate” their homes to find things more easily, and am suggesting that’s one of the main things YOU can do to help your friends and family with low vision challenges live more comfortably and competently.
There are also lots of devices you can suggest or pick as gifts. If Christmas or a birthday is coming up, which ones would be best to buy, at what price point? We’ll try to help you with that on this blog.
Carol Liege, Editor