If an older adult you adore has been diagnosed with dementia, your top concerns are probably his / her safety and wellbeing. The good news is that with a couple of adjustments around the house, it is possible to create a dementia-friendly environment that encourages continued independence for your family member, while keeping safety top of mind. Continue Reading →
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!
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.