Living Alone With Macular Degeneration
The practical side of life, and beyond.
How many of you live alone and worry about your future with macular degeneration? Or do you have a spouse you depend upon for what may be too much? Some have commented how they couldn’t manage without their spouse; but what if, God forbid, you suddenly had no choice? If you needed to make daily visits to your loved one in a care home? Or worse?
Planning for living alone with vision loss
If your macular degeneration is progressing, have you made plans for the possibility of having to live your life alone with the loss of your central vision? These are daily details for those of us already on our own. How would we get to our doctors appointments? Or the pharmacy and grocery store? How would we even find what we need on the shelves at the grocery store? We can see that the can says beans, but can we tell whether they are kidney beans or pinto beans? None of us want to burden our children with our care more than the bare minimum.
Grocery store delivery
When I had my first hip replacement, I signed up online with a local grocery store. After placing an online order, it was delivered for a nominal fee, and the driver even took the freezer items back to the freezer for me! I checked their website recently now that sight is becoming a concern, and it zooms in nicely.
Preparing my mother to live alone
Before my father passed away, he told me he wouldn’t be going through all the treatments if mom was ready to be on her own. She already didn’t drive due to AMD. He made sure she was ready to manage without him. Or as ready as she could be before he allowed himself to slip away.
Preparing for life with vision loss
We all know, or should know, that the chance of losing our central vision is a possibility. With any luck at all, and being proactive with vitamins, diet, and eye protection, we hopefully will hold back the damage to our retinas from macular degeneration. But how will we handle it if our central vision is lost and we can’t complete our normal activities of daily life? What actions will we wish we had taken while we still had our sight?
An advanced directive for vision loss
Many of us have signed an advance directive or living will (whichever it’s called in your area) to let our loved ones know what our wishes are for our end of life. It makes things so much easier for everyone if they know, and have the necessary paperwork ready. But what if we are still capable of almost everything? If our major problem is the loss of vision, why would we not want to make these preparations in advance as well?
Are you prepared to possibly give someone signing authority? Or do you at least have someone you trust enough to check your statements and important papers for missteps? Are those important papers organized? Perhaps it’s time to contact your provincial or state low vision offices to find out what they offer. Do they have a low vision occupational therapist who could help?
Relying on the help of others
Some things are more important than others and some are just frustrating. You really don’t want to have to call your child or grandchild to come over every time you hit the wrong button on your TV remote, as some I’ve known do.
Or a friend to give some help with our wardrobe now that our colours are diminishing. I’ve finally reached the point where almost everything I own matches almost everything else.
Those of you who wear makeup could make sure you can tell the differences, perhaps by the packaging. When my friend first lost her vision, I arrived to pick her up one day only to find her wearing white lipstick. It was concealer, not lipstick. We spent the afternoon sorting makeup, discarding anything that might be confused with something she could easily use.
I realize I’ve only scratched the surface of this important topic. Many of us have already stopped driving after dark, but have you made any other preparations you could share to help us make these necessary decisions?
Do you find it easy to advocate for yourself?