February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month (AMD) – did you know that your senior parent could be at risk? AMD is a “disease that blurs the sharp, central vision you need for ‘straight-ahead’ activities such as reading, sewing, and driving,” according to the National Eye Institute. “AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. AMD causes no pain.”
What is the macula? “The macula is made up of millions of light-sensing cells that provide sharp, central vision,” according to the National Eye Institute. “It is the most sensitive part of the retina, which is located at the back of the eye. The retina turns light into electrical signals and then sends these electrical signals through the optic nerve to the brain, where they are translated into the images we see. When the macula is damaged, the center of your field of view may appear blurry, distorted, or dark.”
AMD can interfere with other simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, write, or do close work, such as cooking, cleaning, or putting on jewelry or a watch. Risk factors for AMD include smoking, race, and genetics. However, the major risk factor for AMD is age. The disease is likely to impact those ages 60 and older, but it can occur earlier.
If your senior parent is struggling with vision impairment or is simply struggling with driving, reading, cooking, or other straightforward tasks, make an appointment with their optometrist (eye doctor) immediately. Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect AMD. Are you able to attend your senior parent’s optometry appointment? In many circumstances, it’s critical to accompany your senior parent to doctor’s appointments and the pharmacy to act as a patient advocate and ask questions that your aging parent may not remember to ask. If you’re unable to attend your parent’s appointment, call SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills. SYNERGY HomeCare in-home caregivers can provide transportation and accompany your senior parent to their doctor’s appointments. SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can help ensure that your senior parent receives quality care, and can ask questions on your behalf and report the doctor’s notes back to you. In your senior parent’s AMD eye appointment, it’s important to ask questions to help you understand your aging parent’s diagnosis and treatment. These questions should include:
- What is my parent’s diagnosis?
- Can my parent’s AMD be treated?
- How will this condition affect my parent’s vision now and in the future?
- What symptoms should we watch for and how should we notify you if they occur?
- Should my parent make lifestyle changes?
Coping with AMD and vision loss can be a traumatic experience for your senior parent. “Having low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, you find everyday tasks difficult to do,” according to the National Eye Institute. If your senior parent is struggling with vision loss or low vision, the following tools may provide them with additional support:
- Reading glasses with high-powered lenses
- Handheld magnifiers or video magnifiers
- Computers with large-print and speech-output systems
- Large-print reading materials
- Talking watches, clocks, and calculators
- Computer aids and other technologies, such as closed-circuit television, which uses a camera and television to enlarge printed text
Help your senior parent prevent vision loss by encouraging them to have regular comprehensive dilated eye exams, as many age-related eye diseases do not have early symptoms. In addition to annual eye exams, many lifestyle factors can help your senior parent prevent vision loss and disease. Remind your senior parent to:
- Eat a balanced diet that includes dark, leafy greens and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Do not smoke
- Keep diabetes under control
- Wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat outdoors
- Wear protective eyewear
- Know their family’s eye health history and discuss it with their eye care professional
If your senior parent is struggling with vision and is not able to complete daily tasks, or, if you’re aging parent is not working toward a healthy vision, call SYNERGY Homecare Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills. Our in-home caregivers are trained to provide compassionate, professional care to your senior parent. Not only can our in-home caregivers help schedule and drive your senior parent to a regularly scheduled eye exam, but our in-home caregivers can also ensure that your senior parent eats a nutritious meal and leads an independent, healthy lifestyle. Our in-home caregivers offer many convenient services, such as:
- Errands and transportation: Driving to the doctor’s office or an appointment, picking up prescriptions, going grocery shopping, etc.
- Meal assistance: Complete and nutritious meal planning, preparing, and cleanup.
- Light housekeeping: Assistance with laundry, ironing, changing linens, kitchen/bathroom cleaning, and organizing, etc.
- Companionship: Encouraging friendly and supportive conversation, active thinking (structuring pastimes, hobbies and games), light exercise, etc.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside
SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is the name you can trust in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar for personal home care. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/corona/ca18/. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 951-280-9808 and [email protected] .