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Warning Signs of Vision Loss in Seniors

Know the signs of vision loss in seniors and seek an assessment from an eye care professional.

Talking about health concerns is hard for many seniors. They might think their health issues are their own concern and no one else’s, or they could be afraid that if they admit to experiencing problems, they might compromise their ability to maintain their independence. This is oftentimes the situation when it comes to vision loss.

A senior who is experiencing difficulty with vision may do his or her best to conceal the issue from family and friends. Because of this, it’s beneficial to know how to identify changes in behaviors and physical appearance that could signify the senior ought to make an appointment with his/her doctor or eye care professional. Be on the lookout for these red flags that could be signs of vision loss:

  • Running into items, stumbling, moving very carefully or touching the wall while walking
  • Appearing to be visually confused in a familiar place
  • Under-reaching or over-reaching for items
  • Stopping certain enjoyable activities like reading, watching television, driving, walking, or participating in hobbies
  • Tilting the head or squinting to see, or holding reading material closer to the face
  • Struggling to identify faces, objects or colors
  • Stains on clothing or outfit color combinations that do not match
  • Looking for more or different kinds of lighting for reading or other activities
  • Having trouble cutting or serving food, or knocking over glasses

Also, if the senior complains about the following items, it could be a sign of losing vision:

  • Pointing out halos or rings around lights, or witnessing spots in front of his or her eyes
  • Expressing pain in the eyes
  • Having diminished night vision, double or distorted vision

Losing vision does not have to mean a loss of self-reliance. With a little help from New Horizons In-Home Care and our experts in home care in Salem, seniors with vision problems can continue to safely enjoy all that life has to offer. We offer transportation and accompaniment services, meal preparation, house cleaning, errand-running, and much more, permitting older adults to age at home where they are most comfortable, to maintain the routines to which they’re accustomed, and to enjoy enhanced socialization. Contact our compassionate care team any time to learn more about our top-rated home care in Salem or one of these surrounding communities: Eugene: 541-687-8851, Corvallis: 541-752-9059, Salem: 503-400-3000, or Florence: 541-997-8115.

Low or Reduced Vision in Seniors: Home Modifications to Maintain Safety

Modifying the house for seniors with reduced vision can improve safety.

When you think about our senses, our vision is most likely the one for which we are most thankful. A great deal of our life’s experiences are a result of the things we see in the world around us. Our sense of vision also shields us from a wide range of dangers. Low or reduced vision can make it more difficult to steer clear of the dangers and barriers we encounter, both within and outside of the home.

If you are caring for a loved one who contends with low vision, an innovative use of colors and contrasts can raise the senior’s level of safety and autonomy. It’s not as complicated as you may think! For instance, keep these techniques in mind:

  • Solid, vibrant colors like orange, red, and yellow are best for reflecting light, and therefore are easiest to see.
  • Light-colored items set against darker-colored backgrounds give heightened contrast. For example, putting a white sheet of paper on a brown desk stands out much more than on an off-white surface.
  • In the same way, dark items are easier to see against light-colored backgrounds. A deep blue chair can be seen best when placed against a lighter-colored wall.
  • When placing furniture and other things in the home, bear in mind that certain colors are so similar that distinguishing between them can be a struggle for people with low vision. The most common color combinations that cause problems are:
  • Black, brown, and navy
  • Green, blue, and purple
  • Yellow, pink, and light green
  • Utilizing light-reflecting tape or brightly colored paint on the top edge of the first and last steps on a stairway can help them stand out.
  • Hallway runners in bright, solid colors can help more clearly define walking pathways.

Naturally, before implementing any changes in a senior loved one’s home who suffers with low vision problems, it’s necessary to keep that person’s wishes and feelings in mind. A senior dealing with vision loss is most likely facing a wide array of fears, like a reduced sense of control over his/her life decisions, reduced independence and privacy, and the fear that people may see him or her in a different way. The individual may also feel overwhelmed or anxious about what the future has in store, and resistant to share his or her thoughts. Remaining sensitive to these feelings instead of just brushing them aside can make a substantial impact.

If a senior loved one in your life is struggling with low vision challenges, call on the Salem home care team at New Horizons In-Home Care for help and resources. We’d be pleased to set up a free in-home evaluation and work with you to put together an appropriate care plan to keep the senior safe and thriving at home. Reach out to us any time in Eugene: 541-687-8851, Corvallis: 541-752-9059, Salem: 503-400-3000, or Florence: 541-997-8115  and let our compassionate care team share how we can help!

How to Overcome Technology Hurdles for Seniors and Their Family Caregivers

These days, older adults are overrun with a surge of high-tech products focused on improving their self-reliance and safety and providing life enhancement. At a touch of a button or two, seniors can automatically pay a visit “in person” with friends and relatives through Skype, wear a pendant that responds with emergency help when needed, and even remain safe from wandering with specialized sensors attached to apparel or shoes. 

The question becomes how to inspire older adults (and family members who care for them) to shift from a low-tech mindset to enjoying all that’s available to them. New Horizons In-Home Care wants to help families overcome technology hurdles for seniors. AARP reports that as few as 7% of family care providers are using technology solutions in their care, but that 71% are interested in using technology that would help make caregiving easier. Why is there such a massive gap between the interest and use of care technology solutions?

Some typical hurdles:  

  • Stigma. Many people see the use of some technology, such as medical alert pendants, as equal to a loss of their freedom.
  • Finding help. Troubleshooting problems with technology leads many older adults and their caregivers to quit attempting to get devices to work. 
  • A lack of time. Carving out time to learn and attempt something new is particularly daunting for busy families who care for their loved ones. 

If you’d like to try and integrate health care technology into senior caregiving but are facing these difficulties, call on New Horizons In-Home Care and our team in senior care in Eugene and the surrounding areas for assistance. Our competent and patient care professionals can help overcome the technological obstacles by:   

  • Recommending technology that fits a senior’s personality and challenges   
  • Providing instruction on how to use the technology 

Whether it is teaching someone how to enjoy applications on a smartphone, or arranging for a personal medical alert system, we can keep older adults connected to friends and family and help them enjoy life to the fullest. Reach out to our experts in senior care in Eugene and the surrounding areas any time in Eugene: 541-687-8851, Corvallis: 541-752-9059, Salem: 503-400-3000, or Florence: 541-997-8115 to learn more.

How to Prevent Senior Loneliness After the Holidays

Senior man staring out a window

Loneliness and depression often affect elder adults once the joys of the holiday season have passed.

The holidays can be overflowing with a whirlwind of activities for the older adults we love, with family gatherings, holiday parties, faith-based services and events, determining the best gifts for those they love. Yet after the decorations are packed away and families have gotten back to the everyday busyness of life, many aging adults are impacted by a frequent but little-discussed concern: post-holiday senior loneliness. Continue Reading →

Diabetic Diet During the Holidays – How Seniors Can Still Indulge

Large family gather for Christmas meal

Keeping a healthy diet during the holidays is difficult, especially for those with diabetes.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to enjoy time with loved ones and close friends, but let’s be realistic: it’s also a time for overindulgence in unhealthy food choices. With numerous rich, fatty, and sugary delicacies to choose from at every turn, it’s difficult to stick to a healthy diabetic diet, which can result in major health problems for individuals with diabetes. Continue Reading →

Salem Area Home Care Helps Seniors Maintain Safety and Achieve Independence

Patient and caregiver spend time together

When seniors need help around the house, home care is a perfect option to promote safety and independence.

Fairly recently, it seemed there was just no other alternative for older individuals with care needs than to face a move to a nursing home or assisted living facility. And many people presume this is still how it works. And yet, home care services have continued to rise in popularity and availability, and more older individuals are now choosing to age in place at home. Continue Reading →

Hoarding Help from New Horizons In-Home Care’s Oregon Home Care Experts

woman with cardboard boxes

Find help for a senior struggling with hoarding issues.

Do you know an older adult who struggles with hoarding? Is the situation becoming more and more challenging to manage? Are you worried about the senior’s safety?

Compulsive or pathological hoarding, also known as disposophobia, is a great deal more involved than simply collecting or living with clutter. It is an extreme accumulation of items, regardless of whether or not these objects have any use or value. The idea of giving away or getting rid of any of these items, even if they’re trash, leads to extreme anxiety and stress.

At New Horizons In-Home Care, we recognize that senior hoarding leads to a number of difficulties. An excess of objects in a senior’s home may lead to issues with hygiene – both in the home itself and with personal hygiene if cleaning facilities are blocked. Extreme clutter can exacerbate social isolation, resulting from the senior’s shame about the state of the home along with his or her inability to clean up enough to go out. And, the clutter may raise a significant safety hazard. Clutter can cause falls, damage home foundations, and block exits in the event of an emergency.

Helping someone who has problems with senior hoarding is a challenge. Older adults who hoard attach an exaggerated degree of value to the belongings they own, regardless of how worthless they may appear to others. Getting rid of anything at all can be tremendously painful.

If a senior you love is struggling with hoarding, these tips can help get things under control:

Never judge the senior. Although it may be difficult, if the senior does not feel judged, she or he may be more inclined to work with you on the hoarding issue. Avoid statements such as “What a mess!” or “How can you possibly live like this?”

Use only encouraging language. If you see progress of any kind, no matter how small, such as a pathway from one room to the next that is wider than it was before, point out to the senior how proud you are that the area is less dangerous now. If you notice a trash bag ready to be taken out, tell the senior that this is excellent progress. Whenever there is an opportunity to offer a compliment, do so: “I can’t imagine how hard it was to fill that trash bag. I’m so pleased that you were able to do that.” You can even point out the nice things in the home, such as a pretty painting, or a unique knick-knack.

Never argue. Those who hoard have their reasoning, and arguing will often lead to them ending the discussion. You do not have to agree with what the senior says, but by arguing, the person may become defensive, moving further away from a solution. If an argument is imminent, it may be time to take a walk around the block or call it a day.

Realize that some things are just too important for the senior to part with. When cleaning up a home, it is essential to bear in mind that not every single item has to go. Most of us have certain possessions that are especially meaningful to us. Acknowledge and accept this.

New Horizons In-Home Care, the Oregon home care professionals, understand firsthand what hoarding can do, and our knowledgeable care staff know how to help. We offer a full range of in-home services that include friendly companionship to help older adults feel accepted and socially involved. Contact us  for a professional in-home consultation and to learn more about how we can help a senior you love.

Warning Signs that May Point to the Need for Help at Home

young woman and grandmother

Help a senior discover a higher quality of life with professional help at home.

“I definitely do NOT need to move to an assisted living facility!” This is a common sentiment proclaimed by many older adults, even when they begin to struggle with managing tasks at home independently. And who can blame them? Home is where we all feel safe and secure, and older adults are no exception. They’re familiar with where everything is located and they enjoy following their own particular routines. They may have friends and family living nearby, who add to their quality of life. Nonetheless, if you are beginning to feel concerned that a senior loved one’s safety at home may be compromised, it may be time to look into help at home.

The questions listed below, courtesy of New Horizons In-Home Care, expert in home care Florence families trust, will help you determine whether your loved one is as safe as possible, or if the senior might benefit from some additional assistance at home:

Weight Loss

  • Has the older person lost weight unintentionally within the past few months?
  • Can she manage grocery shopping and planning and preparing healthy meals?
  • Does she practice safety in the kitchen, such as remembering to turn off the stove?
  • Has she been complaining about the way food tastes?
  • Is she drinking sufficient amounts of water along with other fluids throughout each day to prevent dehydration, particularly during the warmer summer months?

Personal Hygiene

  • Is the senior properly keeping up her personal hygiene?
  • Can she manage the tasks of laundry, bathing, grooming, and using the toilet appropriately?

Medications

  • Does the senior take medications?
  • Is she remembering to take them exactly when and how they are prescribed?
  • Can she read and understand medication labels, and does she know what each medicine is for?
  • Is she physically able to swallow pills, or otherwise take them as recommended (for instance, creams, liquids, crushed or broken pills, etc.)?

Home Safety

  • Is the home free of clutter, which can present a tripping and falling hazard?
  • Could the older person call for help if she were to fall?
  • Are there grab bars in the bathroom, and are handrails on stairways attached securely?
  • Is there adequate lighting to allow her to safely get up during the night to go to the bathroom or kitchen?
  • Have you seen any cuts, bruises, scrapes, or burns that could have been caused by a fall or another unexplained accident?
  • Is the kitchen clean and safe for preparing food?

Emotional, Cognitive, and Psychological Issues

  • Does the older adult appear to be depressed or anxious?
  • Is she remaining socially active as often as possible?
  • If she is religious, is she attending services or programs that are of interest to her?
  • Is she enjoying hobbies that have interested her in the past?
  • Is she having memory problems? Unusually loud or distressed?
  • Are her financial matters in order?

Discovering the answers to questions like these might seem daunting, but New Horizons In-Home Care is here to help. Our knowledgeable care team provides expert home care Florence families trust to assess loved one’s situation and recommend solutions, offering you and your loved one peace of mind. Our expertly trained and experienced home care staff can provide a wide range of home care services, including companionship, light housekeeping tasks, preparing healthy meals, and so much more.

Contact us at 541-687-8851 in Eugene, 541-752-9059 in Corvallis, 503-400-3000 in Salem, or 541-997-8115 in Florence to request an in-home assessment, and find out how our expert care staff can provide the help at home needed to keep seniors safe and thriving.

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