Aging with AMD

A number of years ago when I was living just outside the city, I was without my car for a few days. The bus service was woefully inadequate. This started me thinking about how I would manage when I got older or disabled in any way. Wondering if my very mild macular degeneration actually progressed and then my ability to drive or perhaps even to easily get around on my own would be gone. I knew I needed to be on a bus route. Also walking distance to as many everyday conveniences as possible.

Making changes

But how soon would this be necessary? I enjoyed my little home and semi-rural lifestyle with my garden and a wonderful provincial park just a few minutes walk away.

I began just keeping an eye on the realtor websites, watching for areas that seemed to be elder-friendly, quite walkable and, most of all, affordable. Eventually, I settled on a place in an area with an optometrist, supermarkets, a medical clinic and lab, a few stores, and most importantly, good bus service. All within a few minutes walk. Even the local community center is only 1 km away!

Advancing AMD

Then, just two years after I moved here, the bad news came. I learned my macular degeneration had advanced to wet in one eye. That started my love/hate relationship with our public transit system. It’s mostly a great service.  But occasionally my appointments mean traveling at rush-hour when it can be standing room only. When that happens, I’m usually offered a seat by someone younger. It does remind me though that I’m now the older generation. But it also shows me that our younger generation is going to be alright.

Travelling to appointments

A visit to my retinal specialist’s office downtown for an injection every four weeks for months was enough to convince me I had made the right choice. The first question when I arrive there is always “How did you get here?” Insurance companies say driving is dangerous and definitely out of the question when the eyes have been dilated. I am so thankful I’m now on a bus route.

Enjoying the scenery

There was another feature that was important to me in choosing where I was going to live. It needed to be a place where I could sit and enjoy the world passing by, in case the time came that I couldn’t participate as fully anymore. I can see and hear children playing and laughing on their way to and from school each day. One boy in particular dribbles a basketball all the way up the street. These are the sounds I’ll appreciate in my old age. Maybe I should say older age.

Aging in place

I’m surrounded by beautiful old oak trees, where I can hear the leaves rustling in the summer breezes. In the winter, I can see the bare branches outlined against the sky. Lovely scented blossoms are by the front door and my neighbors always watch out for each other.

There are probably things I have missed in my search for the perfect low vision, aging in place home, but so far I haven’t found any. At least not any that are important.

Does any of this sound like your experience with MD? How far do you travel to see your eye doctor? How do you get to your appointments?

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