My Mom (82) is losing her sight. She is devastated, has nightmares and panic attacks. How to help?

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She has become more and more helpless now that she is living with me. She cries constantly when she's not asleep. She is a Type 1 diabetic and needs help seeing her insulin pump. She says, "You KNOW I cant see, so do this, do that, etc." I'd like to see her happier and come to terms with her loss of vision. I don't feel she's trying, just whining and defeated.

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I'm not sure where you live, but if you live in Massachusetts there are many resources. Assisted Living at The Cove at Thirwood Place offers Low Vision Support Services
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I think some counseling could help her, I can only imagine how terrible it is for her. Physical therapy or the diabetic manager from the hospital may be able to give her some skills in managing. It must be so scary for her to be losing her sight, she must be afraid, maybe she worries what will happen to her especially if you aren't around. She needs tips to help her manage, little steps at a time, don't overload her all at once. Check out the foundation for the blind, even if she has some sight they may be able to assist her. I hope all goes well. Continue to reassure her, she needs time to accept what is happening. It's a terrible thing to lose independence.
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My Mom did well on her eye test its the demetia that interfers with her site.
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Be sure she has good lighting. My MIL would get fine reports from her Opthalmologist then come home and complain that she just couldn't see. We would turn on the lights and a lamp and things would be OK, then she would start to cry and say that she didn't want to run up the electric bill. A bit of drama, a bit of depression, and a lot of just practical needing better lighting. Try more task lighting - table lamps, floor lamps, lamps that can be angled to best assist her.

If there is a blind center near you talk to them about support groups, assistive devices, etc. Get magnifying glasses - there are many different sizes and shapes, and some with their own lighting. Most of all, don't give in to the pity party, at least not while you are with her. She needs to move forward.
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Contact local Commission for the Blind. There are many devices to help low vision & blind people have an easier life!
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My mom has some similar difficulties--very poor vision due to a brain tumor damaging the optic nerve. No peripheral vision, double vision, almost blind. Dementia complicates this because they have difficulty remembering tips that would help them adapt (i.e. feeling things to distinguish, closing one eye to eliminate double vision, etc.). The Chicago Lighthouse has been a big help, providing free talking books and a very simple player--just one big button for on and off. They may be able to put you in touch with a similar service in your area.
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It must be very frightening to lose your vision entirely at 82. Lots of good suggestions here. I would just reiterate to be patient with her as she learns what she can and cannot do and give her extra time to when she is trying to do things.
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Your state's assistive technology project should have information about DME with large print or that read aloud, as well as other technology which may help her get back to activities she enjoyed like reading or watching TV. Head to your favorite search engine and search assistive technology project and your state and you should find it. Also, your local library can provide information on library services for the blind which can supply books in large print or audio format, as well as equipment. Lastly, Prevent Blindness America, the National Federation of the Blind, and the American Diabetes Association all offer information and resources for people who are new to blindness and low vision. Good luck!
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Try a computer search for low vision in your area. There are support groups that will have many ideas and tools that may help. Ditto on the Am. Diabetes Org, they too have vision support groups as vision loss and diabetes are related. In additon, her endocrinologist' office may have suggestions.
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Seeing the settings on her Insuinl pump is not something she can be safely expected to do anymore ot taking the correct pills. These tasks that should be taken over for her. I am assuming her loss of sight is due to the diabetes so so she have other problems associated with the disease?
As far as the cry etc ate concerned i supect she has an underlying depression which is natural and to be expected so start with her PCP and ask about antidepressents and avisit to a councillor. is there a blind association close by? Thesy may have all kinds of assistance, group meetings, classes and outings that she may enjoy with other blind people. She does need a lot of help but can still become fairly independent. For example she may confuse colors so selecting clothes for the day is something reasonable to help with but she can dress herself. make the house hazard free and don't move things around or leave clutter. not safe around the cooker but put raised numbers on the microwave and leave something in the fridge she can warm up if you are not there. Encourage her to do parts of tasks, for example she can feel the cutlery in the drawer and bring that to the dining room table. i am sure there are aides for the blind that can teach her some simple brail. Just a few letters will be helpfull. practice with her and encourage. There may also be some dementia going on so that also needs to be assessed. lots of reassurance that she is not alone and will be looked after. Never make promises you can not keep.
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