Caring for people with Vision loss or blindness
As we age, just as our physical strength decreases our eyes also exhibit an age-related decline (particularly as we reach our 60s and beyond). Some of these changes are perfectly normal and don’t signify any sort of disease process. Others however such as cataracts, can be considered an age-related disease, they are extremely common among seniors and can be readily corrected with cataract surgery.
If your parent or elder is legally blind, they may be entitled to the Blind Pension regardless of their income and assets. We have included important financial information at the bottom of this page — so make sure you read it.
Some people will experience more serious age-related eye diseases which will have greater potential for affecting quality of life as we grow older. These conditions including glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy may cause partial blindness, legal blindness or even full blindness.
Some people with vision problems get depression, lose their confidence and have an increased risk of falls and hip fractures. People at the highest risk of vision loss are older people and those with diabetes as well as, those with a family history of vision problems.
Sometimes, because people think that changes in their vision are a natural part of ageing, visual problems go untreated. If you do notice any changes in your vision, it is important to get your eyes tested as soon as possible by an optometrist or ophthalmologist (a medical eye specialist). These services are free to Australian Medicare card holders.
What else can I do to help with my eye health?
There are many things you can do to help your eyes stay healthy including:
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Eating healthy food – a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables may reduce the risk of eye disease.
- Reducing the amount of glare and ultraviolet radiation to your eyes by wearing a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses and keeping out of the sun during the middle of the day. Make sure that your sunglasses meet the Australian Standard.
- Wearing protective eye equipment, such as protective goggles, when undertaking do-it-yourself activities around the home and garden.
- Making sure you have good lighting and take regular breaks when working at a computer for long periods of time.
The Daughterly Care Joyful Living Approach™
At Daughterly Care our aim is to support people with visual problems by recognising their individual concerns and tailoring a care plan to suit their daily living requirements. Some of the services we offer can include: respite care, personal care, shopping, light household duties and appointments.
Our Caregivers are given guidelines for working with vision impaired and blind clients and have the full support of our Nursing team:
- Introduce yourself and state your name when you arrive.
- Use a clear natural voice when speaking.
- Say what you’re doing before you do it, or if you’re moving about the room or leaving.
- Tell the client if there’s food in front of them including what it is and where it’s placed on the plate, perhaps using the idea of a clock face (for example, beans are at 12 o’clock).
- Warn the person of the temperature of food or drink when you’re giving it to them.
- Leave everything as you found it in their home. If something has to be moved, tell them where you have moved it to. This is vitally important.
- Be especially careful when the house is being cleaned. Vacuum cords, wet floors and a mop and bucket are all potential hazards.
- Shut doors completely or leave them fully open. A half-open door is a hazard.
- Let the client take your arm and walk slowly, and make sure you remove or describe any obstacles in their way when guiding them around.
Please contact our friendly office staff if you need any further information or need to make an inquiry about our services.
Is your parent or Elder legally blind?
Financial assistance for legally blind seniors
There is a test that determines if someone is legally blind. The term ‘legally blind’ does not mean that the person has zero vision. If your parent or Elder has limited or very poor vision, ask their Ophthalmologist if they meet the criteria to be classified as ‘legally blind’, then ask them to complete this report for the Human Services Department– because being ‘legally blind’ means that your parent or Elder may be entitled to the Age Pension without being assessed against the income and assets tests.
More information is available at Australian Government Human Services age pension and retirement planning website which provides the following information:
Income support for older Australians
If you are legally blind and you are not claiming Rent Assistance, you may get Age Pension without being assessed against the income and assets tests.
As at 28 August 2018, the Department of Human Services states that the Age Pension for a single person is $826.20. per fortnight, not to mention all the other benefits such as discounted council rates, car registration, health care card etc.
This is the source Government website:
Further, being legally blind and over 65 often entitles you to a High Care (Level 3 or 4) Government Subsidised Home Care Package (up to $55,315.75 p/a) to help pay for your in Home Care services.