A diagnosis of macular degeneration can leave a senior fearful of what lies ahead and their ability to lead an independent life. Depending on the stage of the disease, they may have no vision loss or their central vision may be diminishing at a rapid pace. There are lifestyle changes that may slow down the progression of this disease and ways to make your loved one’s home safer and easier to navigate so that they can live as independently as possible for as long as possible.
The Definition of AMD
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss for people who are age 50 and older. It is the result of degeneration of the central portion of the retina of the eye, otherwise known as the macula. Its progression varies widely from person to person with some exhibiting no changes in their vision for years. The first symptom is often blurred vision. Ultimately, total loss of central vision may occur. Because symptoms may not become apparent for some time, it’s important to make yearly appointments with your parent’s ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam.
There are several lifestyle choices that have been shown to potentially slow down the progression of AMD. These include the following:
- Stop smoking. Smoking doubles the risk of AMD. For help with this difficult to quit habit, visit Smokefree 60+, an online resource that provides tips, incentives and online support.
- Help your parent institute a healthy diet rich in salmon, berries and other antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Choose foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin, important nutrients for the eye that can be found in leafy greens and red peppers as well as peas, squash and eggs. Help them stay hydrated by ensuring they have a glass of water by their side.
- Schedule exercise on a daily basis that consists of aerobic activity.
- Find activities that reduce stress and promote relaxation such as reading, relaxing walks in nature, listening to guided relaxation recordings, and taking warm baths filled with lavender sea salts.
Help your loved one remain independent by providing them with a safe home environment. This includes reducing any tripping of slipping hazards. Walk the pathways your parent generally takes from room to room and assess for any clutter or obstructions including furniture or wires. Remove throw rugs. Increase lighting and provide lampshades to reduce glare. Install grab bars in strategic locations such as the shower and by the toilet.
Elderly Care Provider
Your parent may, at some point, be unable to perform all the daily activities of living. Should this occur, consider the aid of an elderly care provider who can assist them with the daily tasks as well as provide transportation, perform errands and provide the companionship so vital to well-being at any age.
If you are considering hiring elderly care in Lexington, Ohio, call the caring staff at Central Star Home Health at (419) 610-2161. Providing services for families in Mansfield, Lexington, Bellville, Mt. Gilead, Loudonville, Crestline, Galion, Shelby, Ashland, Wooster, and the surrounding areas.