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Celebrate Senior Independence!

Older man sitting at a table enjoying his coffeeJuly is Senior Independence Month and a great time to touch on some ideas and tips to help the senior generation continue to keep their freedom.

According to the Family Caregivers Alliance, “Nearly 3.5 million Americans over 40 have some degree of vision loss, most commonly from age-related conditions. This number is expected to double in the next few decades as the baby boomers grow older.” Vision can play a huge role in determining the degree of independence an individual is able to maintain. We hope these few tips will keep seniors safe and organized as we continue to celebrate their independence!

Simple Safety Precautions 
Keeping a safe living environment is crucial in preventing serious falls and injuries. There are simple things you can do around the house to help minimize these dangers.

Railings are beneficial for all, but can be especially helpful for the elderly community. Make sure sturdy railings are installed near all steps, inside and outside of the home.

Rugs can be seen as a tripping hazard, so it’s best to remove them all together, or at the very least, ensure they have a non-slip backing to keep them in place.

Try to avoid rearranging the home, so maneuvering through the halls and various rooms is a familiar and uneventful task.

An emergency response system is a device used to call for help in case of an emergency. These items have really grown in popularity and can be of real assistance when someone falls and can’t get to a phone.

Vision Tips
There are an abundance of Low Vision Aids available for patients with various degrees of vision loss, looking for assistance in everyday tasks.

One common category for low vision aids are items listed with large numbers and fonts. For instance, make sure telephones, watches, clocks and calculators all have large, easy-to-read numbers. The same goes for newspapers, magazines, books and computer screens; the larger the fonts, the less likely folks are to struggle while reading. A magnifying glass is another helpful tool commonly used, and ensuring a room is brightly lit can also help patients with decreased vision read and perform daily tasks.

There are some items that individuals are constantly reaching for, and reading glasses seem to be one of those popular objects. If possible, keep multiple pairs of reading glasses throughout the home, so you don’t have to wander around looking for them every time you need a pair. Artificial Tears are common over the counter eye drops used by many, and patients will often do the same thing with these. If you can purchase small bottles of Artificial Tears and keep them stored in various rooms, you’ll have easy access to the eye drops when you need them, without searching throughout the entire home.

Finally, it’s important to keep up with your medications and eye drops. This can be a challenging task, especially when you have more than one medication to keep track of, but there are tools out there to help. Paper Medication Grids are often provided to patients when treatments are prescribed, but there are also electronic devices available that can dispense pill–form medications on a set schedule. Figure out what works best for you and stay on top of your daily medications!

Hopefully some of these tips will help to maintain your independence, while making daily tasks a bit easier. If you’re interested in low vision aids, check with your family eye doctor to see if there’s a Low Vision Specialist in your area.

Sources: American Council of the Blind