Downsizing with Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Optician's instrument

If fully-sighted homeowners find downsizing challenging, imagine doing so with limited vision. One of my elderly relatives has Macular Degeneration and is continually adapting to the gradual loss of vision. After ninety eye injections, he is still at it. Vision changes have forced him to adjust his activities of daily living and change his living accommodations. Here’s what he has done and what we have done to help him.

The primary changes he/we have made can be easily grouped into three categories – Devices, Lighting and Environment. If you have a family member with AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration), you are probably already familiar with some of them.

Devices

Most devices that help those with vision loss are geared to reading, controlling their personal communication or entertainment choices. The following point form list is sequenced in chronological order from the first device he acquired to more recent acquisitions.

  • Large-button phone
  • Magnifier
  • “Ruby Reader”
  • Zoom function on PC (we have not used speech control yet)
  • One-button radio
  • Simplified TV remote (Flipper)

Simple TV remote

Lighting

A person with AMD typically finds lighting a challenge. In order to supplement typical home lighting, my relative purchased a few compact flashlights and a mini-headlamp. He uses the latter device when eating to cast more light on his meal and maintain his independence. He looks like a miner but it works!

Mini-headlamp

Environment

Another aspect of living with AMD is the living environment. A variation of the previous topic of lighting is ambient light which can make the environment very bothersome. Daylight that you and I would consider is normal is seen as bright and blinding my relative. We have purchased opaque drapes from Bouclair and had them installed in his rooms to reduce the daytime glare. This has reduced his agitation and helped him relax.

Another helpful strategy is to install furniture with rounded edges when possible. This helps reduce the inevitable pain when bumping into furniture due to poor vision. Our family used the same approach when our children were young to minimize the chance of serious injury when the kids were learning to walk or playing indoor games.

Round end-table

Clutter

Although vision loss is an unwelcome change, it sure simplifies the process of helping a person eliminate clutter. If they can no longer read documents or leaf through old photos they have been hanging onto for fifty years, it is much easier to get rid of this outdated stuff without any guilt. We are still doing so for my relative and are checking and eliminating one moving box at a time.

A box of old photos

What have you found to be helpful for your relative’s changing vision? You are welcome to comment below with your suggestions and thoughts.


You may notice some Canadian spelling in these posts. The words may look odd but that’s how we spell them. We’re used to it.

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Quill pen

Author:
Unless otherwise credited, all posts are happily authored with a quill pen …
Paul Ferri, Broker, ASA (Accredited Senior Agent)
RE/MAX Unique Inc. Brokerage*, Toronto, Canada
*Each office independently owned and operated.

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