If you have a family member or friend who is facing the prospect of impaired vision or going blind, then you will no doubt want to help as much as you can. This can be a difficult period and there can be a range of emotions including anxiety, depression and even anger. The good news is that there are plenty of resources and support groups to help you and the person affected to come to terms with what is happening.
For everyone concerned, there is a period of adjustment, having to cope with new, different and sometimes frightening challenges. There could be problems moving about the house, the inability to do something as simple as watch and enjoy a television programme. Even the act of filling a kettle and making a hot drink can pose substantial problems.
For family and friends, though, it’s not just about providing support but also enabling the environment that can help an individual live their life as independently as possible. It may start with supporting them as they begin to come to terms with their loss of vision, making sure you are there when they are feeling angry, distressed or simply helpless. But finding ways to allow a person to cope with this new world they find themselves in is also an ongoing process. It takes a lot of time and dedication and both the person who is losing their site and those helping need to show a good deal of patience.
People who are going blind or have gone blind often feel they are a burden on everyone around so helping them develop coping skills and be more independent is a good idea as well as reassuring them. A mix of practical and emotional support is certainly needed. Many of the things we take for granted will need to be approached in a different way. You yourself can learn how to guide someone with sight problems properly and find ways to adapt the home.
There are simple things you can do for someone to help them as they face blindness. Cleaning the home for them and maintaining the garden are just a few. Fixing any potential hazards like loose carpeting or sharp corners is another way you can implement simple adjustments that make life safer and easier.
The key thing that most partially sighted or blind people want, though, is to be able to live as independently as possible. Working with them to make this possible is one of the best ways that you can help.
Doing Your Research
There are a variety of different conditions that cause loss of vision and even blindness. For example, macular degeneration can stop people seeing detail while glaucoma can reduce peripheral vision. Researching a person’s condition can better help you to understand what they are going through and allow you to provide the support they need. People rarely go blind suddenly, most eye conditions gradually deteriorate over time. Knowing what you are dealing with and what to expect can give you confidence and help you plan ahead.
Part of your research should be making sure that you can access all the external support you both need. Most places have charities and support groups that are available where you can meet and engage with people who are going through similar difficulties.
There is plenty of tech available and things are being developed all the time that are designed to help people with vision impairment. Not only can you get audio books and TV with audio descriptions, there are gadgets that help you to cope on a day to day basis. In many places there’s also financial support for buying these as well as for any home alterations that make life easier for the blind person.