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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 10/23/08

My mother is 85 years old and in quite good health. Unfortunately she is going blind. She is having a number of treatments including laser treatments but nothing seems to improve her eyesight.

I would like some suggestions on how I can help her deal with this situation, as she is very depressed about it.  Nothing I say seem to help.

Thank you

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Name: Lois Troutman
Location: Mechanicsburg, PA
Date: 10/23/2008
Time: 05:42 AM


My mother is declared legally blind because she has macular degeneration. She is in assisted living now. But, she has been having her deteriorating eye condition for much longer than she's been in assisted living. An invaluable resource for us has been the Foundation for the Blind: There are so many resources that can help you through an organization such as this. Check with her doctor, one of her nurses, and see how they can help, too, to connect you with an organization. You'll be surprised how much help they can be. I hope this helped. Lois

Name: Lori Coleman
Location: Kansas
Date: 10/23/2008
Time: 06:21 AM


Check with your state agency on aging to see if there are any programs around that help people adjust to vision loss. In Kansas we have a KanSail program through Social Rehab Services that helps people over 55. There is a lot a person can still do even with less to no vision. It's not the end of their independence. While there is a lot of treatments out there that can slow down &/or prolong the loss it usually still happens. Getting help adjusting to lower vision is always a good idea.

Name: Linda M.
Location: Antigo, Wisconsin
Date: 10/23/2008
Time: 08:40 AM


As stated, check with your Area on Aging or Dept. on Aging. If you have a Aging & Disability Resource Center in your county, they can provide you with resources in your area and beyond. There are also web sites. There are so many adaptive devices to assist and ideas as simple as putting a rubber band around you shampoo to tell the difference from the conditioner. Also ask about Support Groups for the Visually Impaired. Doing things now to prepare for future loss is important to adjustment.

Name: Sherry Barber
Location: Whittier, CA
Date: 10/23/2008
Time: 08:55 AM


I've had vision problems since 4th grade. Here's what helps me: a cardboard shopping list so I can find it easily in my purse. I write with a bold marking pen. I center my hands on the computer keyboard by finding the dots on letters f and j. I bought and rely on VISION-EAZ stick-on letters for my keyboard. ( I've learned to identify my clothes by feel, mostly because I get dressed in the dark for my early morning walk! There is hope! Hang in there.

Location: Boca Raton, Fl.
Date: 10/23/2008
Time: 03:09 PM


See if your local library has talking books. I think that if she can spend some time listening to books it would cheer her up.

Name: elizabeth
Location: ARlington VA
Date: 10/23/2008
Time: 08:41 PM


My dad was 93 when he died and was blind the last 13 year of his life. He filled his days with helping others! He had a telephone ministry and called shut-in's and people that were lonely. What a blessing he was to so many. It is only natural for your mom to be depressed. But if you could help her find things she can do it will also help past the time and her spirits. And if she can find a way to help others she will be a very happy person! Hope this helps a bit.

Name: Kim
Location: North Carolina
Date: 10/24/2008
Time: 05:55 AM


Calling your local Area Agency on Aging is a great suggestion. You may also want to check on programs offered through the Services for the Blind. Often, they have resources and information for equipment that may assist your mother. If your mom isn't actively involved in her local Senior Center, you may want to look into that. Even with a visual impairment she can participate in activities and meet people.

Name: Jack
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Date: 10/24/2008
Time: 07:10 AM


You can talk about the fact she didn't go blind until this age. That may not be something she wants to do, but I have to believe she has seen lots of babies, lots of graduations, and lots of weddings and people in her life. There is nothing you can do about her take on blindness, it is her choice. You should choose to live "around" her choice. If you can't help her in your household, or hers, then institute a caregiver source that can, and then you can visit her for the times that you are up to doing your part. We all have people who haven't ever adjusted to the disability they have, however, as caregivers, we need to remember that we cannot change how they feel about the disability, but explain how we are able to help them in spite of their decision to be depressed or not. Take care...she would much rather have your familiar voice in the room when she is blind, to a person she does not know taking care of her. Trust me.

Name: Barbara
Location: Euclid, OH
Date: 10/26/2008
Time: 05:49 PM


My best advice is to get in touch with a good low-vision specialist - - - someone who can teach her how to cope with her loss. Mine is Debbie Kogler of Magnifiers & More in Mentor Oh. She has taught us that depression is a very normal part of dealing with the loss of vision. My mother is losing her eyesight from Macular Degeneration. She too gets very depressed, but Debbie is helping my mother make the most of her remaining eyesight. She showed her how good high quality magnifiers and lighting make a vast difference. My mother has an array of large print items, large print playing cards, and other adaptive devices that we learned about through Debbie and her store, Magnifiers & More. Debbie encouraged my mother to join a Vision Support Group, The Mentor Vissionairies, where my mother met other people who have vision loss. They meet monthly and my mother always comes away with a few new ideas and tips to help her cope. It is hard for my mom, but support really helps. Good luck.



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