November Highlights the Challenges of Caregiving

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November is National Family Caregivers Month. The theme this year is "Caregiving Around the Clock" since it is often a 24/7 commitment. During National Family Caregivers Month, we honor the many devoted caregivers who selflessly provide their loved ones with care and comfort.

Caregiving and Older Persons with Vision Loss

by Audrey Demmitt, R.N., VisionAware Peer and Peer Support Group Advisor

Audrey Demmitt and her dog guide There is an alarming number of seniors who are aging with vision loss. Your loved one may be one of them and most certainly will have some unique needs. Unfortunately, social and rehabilitation agencies are often under-funded and overburdened, making it difficult to meet the needs of this growing population for services that could enable them to age in the place of their choice, usually at home in safety, with independence and dignity.

Senior Services Lack Awareness of Vision Loss Issues

Furthermore, there is a lack of knowledge and awareness of vision related issues among the allied professions which serve seniors. Older adults with low vision or severe vision loss will need special support and accommodations to remain healthy, engaged, and safe in their community. Many will struggle to manage daily tasks like shopping, cooking, reading mail, paying bills, and safely taking their medications. Some seniors with vision loss are ushered off to assisted living facilities prematurely for fear they can no longer take care of themselves. If assisted living becomes the best option for a loved one with vision loss, families soon discover many facilities are ill-equipped and ill-informed to meet these residents’ special needs.

Caregivers Must Find Their Own Way

All of this means more family caregivers are shouldering more responsibilities and will have to find their own way when it comes to securing what their loved ones need. Hopefully you will find helpful support and resources here if you are currently in this challenging role.

I have also written Ten Tips for Caregivers and put together a Resource list that contains helpful websites and tips to help caregivers. You might also be interested in my blog post Where to Find Help When Your Loved One is New to Vision Loss.

Another take on caregiving are the experiences of Mary Hiland, VisionAware peer, who has written a book from her perspective as a caregiver who is blind. Read her interview about The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living, a Daughter's Memoir. November is also National Alzheimer's Awareness month. Peer Advisor Steph McCoy has written about her journey as a caregiver of a parent with Alzheimer's.

Highlights on VisionAware

With Veterans Day just behind us, we should take a moment to think about the contributions of our veterans by reading DeAnna Noriega’s heartwarming tribute. And find out about services for veterans who are blind or visually impaired.

Disability Employment Awareness Month was officially celebrated last month, but employment is an evergrowing concern and deserves full time focus. Be sure to read guest blogger Suzanne Turner’s post on this topic.

VisionAware Blog

Maureen Duffy has written about some exciting new research that has just been published, The Number of New Cases of Low Vision and Blindness in Adults and Older Adults Is Expected to Double During the Next 30 Years and Two Potential Treatments for Dry Macular Degeneration.

Joy Efron, Ed.D, has updated her helpful series on her experiences with macular hole and pseudo macular hole.

November Featured Support Group

The November Featured Support Group is the Traverse City Visually Impaired Persons Group. An active group, they even have their own rowing team!

group of Traverse City support group members rowing in VIP ship

The Holidays Are Almost Upon Us!Woman with daughter hugging a grandfather and giving him a present

Just in time for the holidays, VisionAware has refreshed our Getting Ready for the Holidays section with some new recommendations for gifts to buy or make.

As Thanksgiving grows closer, stay tuned for holiday recipes and related posts!

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