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Supporting people with sight loss

Sight loss can be frightening and frustrating, so this World Blindness Awareness Month we’re discussing supporting people living with loss of sight.

World Blindness Awareness Month runs throughout October, and aims to highlight visual impairment. Here, our team discuss ways of supporting a loved one with living with blindness:

Offer help but don’t be offended if it isn’t taken

Most people with a visual impairment like to stay as independent as possible, so while it’s always a nice gesture to offer help, equally don’t be offended if it is politely declined.  Sight loss can vary in severity, so one person’s need may be different from another’s. Find out what it is your loved one struggles with as you may find some tasks they’re comfortable with, whereas other more high risk tasks, such as crossing the road, they may find difficult.

Understand frustration

Losing sight can be isolating and frustrating. If you find a loved one being short tempered or upset following a sight loss diagnosis, try to be patient. It may take time for them to adjust so ensure they understand the lines of communication are open. Support groups where others who understand how they are feeling could also help offer comfort and advice.

Help with access to practical support

It isn’t just emotional support a loved one with sight loss may require. Tasks they may have taken for granted before might become difficult and they may require additional support. They might want to seek assistance for ways to manage daily activities such as cooking, cleaning and bathing, as well as writing, texting and calling. You could also consider a guide dog for support with everyday life.

Adjust living spaces

Simple changes can often be very effective – considering ways to aid someone with sight loss in their own home is important. Making sure they use their other senses where possible to communicate can help. You can adjust living spaces by making sure any important notes or phone numbers are in a large, easy to read format and making sure the home has sufficient lighting. A big button phone can also make using the telephone easier. It’s also worth ensuring rooms are free of any obstacles such as toys or clutter and that sharp objects are kept in a safe place known to the occupant. A peephole viewer can help those with sight loss to feel more comfortable when answering the door, while a pillow shaker and flashing beacon may be useful for those who have hearing difficulties as well as sight loss. The device is designed to be kept under a pillow and can be connected to an alarm clock and other items.

Consider lifeline support

Lifeline support can be invaluable in building confidence and assisting with daily life when you may not be around to care for or help a loved one. Items such as the fall detector can help if a loved one with partial or complete sight loss lives alone and worries about falling. You can now also buy lifeline pendants online for fast delivery – these items allow the user to connect to Welbeing’s support centre in case of an emergency in the home or garden.

Build confidence in going outside

People with sight loss may find one of the most intimidating tasks is venturing outside, especially if they need to go somewhere busy or with a number of well used roads. You can help to build confidence in going outside by undertaking a number of regular routes with your loved one, while clearly outlining any hazards or safe places to cross roads along the way. A GPS tracker can also help to offer peace of mind when the person ventures out alone, so that should they become lost or fearful their location can be discovered. They may also find a cane useful in detecting potential dangers while out and about.

To find out more about how Welbeing’s telecare packages can help support someone living with sight loss, please contact us or talk through the best option for your needs with one of our friendly advisors by calling 01323 644422.

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