A docile crocodile surrounded by friendly birds that are helping him clean his teeth.

Finding Support While Staying Independent

Do you have AMD and live alone? Are you prepared for some loss of independence? Most of us have thought about what will happen if we can’t drive anymore if it hasn’t already impacted us. But what changes may be needed to make the other areas of our life easier or safer?  Or more enjoyable? Or even do-able alone?

A support system

Are you lucky enough to have a sighted spouse who can take over some of the things you’ve always done? Or a treasured sister or brother? For those of us who live alone, will you be able to continue to live alone? I have a wonderful daughter who will do anything for me, and we enjoy a lot together, but she has her own life and I don’t want to become dependent on her for everything. It would change our relationship.

It's nice to have a friend

I’m not talking about things like better lighting, although that is important, and a subject for another time. I’m suggesting the interactions with friends, both close ones or perhaps just members of the same group. Today’s acquaintance could become the closest helper/friend you will have. Someone who can see and tell you what those tiny insects are on your favourite cactus, for example. A friend who will tell you there’s a spot on your sweater.

Depending on a friend

Will you be able to continue cooking the way you always have? Or are you familiar with the newer home delivery options? Banking online can be done with the right technology, but will you be able to check your balances? What about grocery shopping? Could you see well enough to do it online, or will you need to depend on a friend with the time and inclination to take you? Or you might find options such as the volunteer shoppers for seniors at my local supermarket.

Different types of friends

We have different friends for different parts of our life. Ones with similar interests. That one friend who clothing shops like we do. The one who enjoys the same kind of restaurants as us, whether that’s fine dining or a burger at the local fast food place. Maybe you have a friend who loves driving. Or one who loves to have coffee and a chat at a sidewalk cafe as much as you do. Someone to travel with, or participate with you in a political forum, or even just sew on a button.

A mutually beneficial relationship

We need to continue, or start, forming those relationships now. Some people will say that it makes them needy, but it doesn’t! If you have a great attitude and don’t take advantage, friends will be more than happy to help!  And there are things you can still help your friends with, even with low vision. If you could be the helper, you wouldn’t find it a burden to do things you enjoy, with them. When you’re doing something you enjoy, it’s easy, and often better, to share it with a friend, isn’t it?

Friendships require time and energy to keep, but they’re so important! If you’ve let some slide, thinking you don’t have the energy, or it’s been too long, or your vision loss has changed things too much, pick up the phone. All of us want to stay independent, but when the time comes, will we be confident enough in our circle of friends to do the smart thing?

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