How can I find a nursing home that is experienced with blind residents?

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My 88 year old aunt started out legally blind, refused to participate in mobility training, and now that she is pretty much completely blind is very tentative when she is not in familiar surroundings. My mother, her sister is, 85 and they live together. It is wearing on my mother and I know the inevitable is looming. Does anyone have experience in locating a quality nursing home for a blind relative and can share the do's/don'ts, things to watch for? Thank you!

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Most quality nursing homes should be able to handle your aunt's disability. Loss of eyesight isn't unusual in elders because macular degeneration and glaucoma are both risks that increase with age. I'd visit prospective nursing homes and just observe the staff and how they interact with all residents. Is there an atmosphere of respect for residents and staff? When you get the "vibe", then make an appointment to talk about your aunt's needs. Look at several homes if you can. If you see people around who are visiting family members, try to approach them in a friendly way and tell them you are considering the home. Ask what they think of it. Don't just accept what one person says, however. You may find a person who is never satisfied, or someone who is satisfied with anything. But if you can talk to a few visiting family members, that would be helpful.
Good luck. This sounds like an inevitable move.
Yvonne, perhaps these suggestions might help:

1. Sometimes there are specific rehab institutes which address stroke victims. The Rehab Institute of Michigan, under the umbrella of the Detroit Medical Center, is one. It has special programs and exercises for people with stroke disabilities. I don't know about blindness though.

This is a link to RIM; look it over just to see what's offered; that might give you an idea of what to search for in CA. Check the "For Patients and Families" and "Specialties/Stroke Program" sections to see what's offered. That might be a kind of guideline in checking CA facilities.

rimrehab organizational site

2. I found several institutes in CA that appear to address similar issues:


If this link is deleted ( links are typically deleted by admins), google "Rehab Institutes of California."

3. You might want to try a similar approach - google "Blindness Rehab in California", or something similar.

4. Check with the State of California; in Michigan, there's actually an agency that addresses blindness and coping.

5. Contact local hospitals to see if they have stroke programs and stroke support groups. One hospital here does, so it's an opportunity for stroke recoverers to meet with others, learn coping and recovery skills, etc. It's also a way to socialize with others in a similar situation, without feeling embarrassed.

6. One hospital which has a stroke program also has a PT subsidiary. When I was getting therapy once, there was a woman getting stroke therapy; she was walking with assistance in a walker that was like the things children used to wear when learning to walk - it's a type of device that has an inflatable circular portion around the upper body, with another circular stability device around the ankles and/or lower legs, as the walking portion.

If you can imagine walking inside a barrel, without the slats, it's somewhat like that. It provides support for the person in a 360 degree circle, not just from the front like a walker.
As to nursing homes, the only suggestion I can make is again to contact a state commission for the blind and ask if they're aware of facilities that specifically focus on someone with blindness, or just contact facilities directly and ask that question.

It's possible you might get some help from one of the charities that focuses on blindness as well.
My late MIL (a very difficult person) was legally blind and not at all accepting of it. This before she ever entered a facility.She had detached retinas with repairs done and then detached again and macular degeneration, so she was completely blind in 1 eye and 30% in the other. My DH spoke to Lighthouse for the Blind (in our city they have a well organized facility and an actual store) and they had lists of contacts either through other Lighthouse's or affiliated organizations throughout the US for blind and visually impaired. Lighthouse is in several cities across the US and very helpful - but if the person just is going to be the type who won't participate in their care and do things proactively on their own, it is really hard for the blind to catch up. What we found is that most LTC do not have the extra trained staff that the profoundly blind need or the staff time to go through the memory training to get the resident to understand the layout of the facility so they can participate in activities. So you can find a LTC that will take her but you might find yourself in having to do the daily visits to get her to understand and practice getting about the place otherwise she will end up just being in her room all day. Good luck.
As a Pastor I have a parishioner who is blind with Cerebral Palsy. Are there facilities that would provide any tpe of exercise and mobility for one who desires it. He has had two leader dogs in the past, reads Braille and is a minister. He presently gets no exercise, is sat in a wheel chair in front of the nursing station all day. Can you point us to some resources?
My son is Legally blind and has brain injury from a stroke. he is mobile, but only when assisted. He cannot do anything by himself as his reasoning intellect has been affected. Are there any nursing homes, or programs that can help him with this double whammy. Blind people can learn to get around their environment, but not my son. I am almost 76 yrs. old, any information would be valuable to me as my son lives with me and I am his sole source of support.

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