Aging Parents: The Practical, Important Foundations for Aging Well–2 Fundamental 2

4 Fundamentals–Fundamental #2

#2.  Vision: We know how precious vision is, but not as keenly as when it begins to fail us. We can probably do nothing about some of the normal, common age-related vision changes, other than making certain we and aging parents have adequate light. For example, that little flashlight to read menus in darkly lit restaurants, or an additional light or lamp to distinguish between navy blue and black (specially for men selecting socks); and I’m not sure what needs to be invented to see the color gradations that delineate steps off of curbs or elsewhere. (Restaurants usually go a good job of this with a contrasting color carpet or painted lines.)

That said, vision change can come on so gradually, we neglect doing anything about it, even when we realize we aren’t seeing that well. When I saw Milly (see last post) I noticed her expressive, blue eyes, possibly for the first time and mentioned how pretty they were. (Everyone likes a compliment and I suspect older people get fewer because they’re with less people for one thing.)

Milly remarked that she had cataract surgery. Said she hadn’t realized what a difference it made–everything was so much clearer. Didn’t realize things had become dimmer and dimmer. While it would have been impolite for me to probe further knowing what a smart, determined woman Millie is, I’m guessing cataract surgery had been recommended by her doctor–probably way back before it had reached the “necessary” stage–and she had continued to put it off after that because the changes came gradually (and her son lived 1000 miles away).  Point is–with no adult children living near, there’s a tendency to postpone for many. So–idea! I’m thinking we should probably ask parents about vision and cataracts (as well as other conditions) at some point, and if we get the “it’s not at the necessary stage” reply, offer to be there for them whenever that stage does become necessary.

Prevention is the best medicine, we know that.  And helping in any way we can when vision issues occur (assuming we know about them…..that’s important and will be the subject of a future post) makes so much sense as we try to help parents age well.

I’m dividing my time between NY and our soon-to-be closing date–cleaning out our suburban home, where I have no internet access. So bear with me for the next two weeks and keep checking back. I will post each chance I get, even if it’s not Tuesday and Saturday. Hearing, then Eating and Drinking will follow.

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