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My mother is 95 and is on her computer constantly. She also loves to read, but has lost the sight in her right eye and the left now seems to be deteriorating. The fact that she is losing her sight is SO DISTRESSING to both of us, and we're in terrible fear and pain about this situation. She has a good ophthalmologist, we visit him regularly, and she uses her prescribed eyedrops religiously. It seems clear that nothing else can be done, since she has severe glaucoma, and we know that there is no cure for this condition. Has anyone had similar experiences, and if so, what advice can you give us?

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Hello, my stepdad Gillmore is now blind after a bit of a battle with glaucoma as well . I knew that he would eventually totally lose his sight so I did the following
●established with him prior to the total blindness where certain things were in the house his towel rack , soap , toiletries, toothbrush etc and made him locate them by feel .
●I had Gilly count steps to certain areas , for example , getting up from the bed to the bathroom is 20 steps straight. To the living room is 5 straight , 4 left, 35 straight . I had him memorize these combinations so now he can get around fairly well by himself .
●I bought him a night chair for his room so that if he doesn't feel like going to the bathroom in the middle of the night he has it for his convenience .
●I had him use a cane while he still had sight to tap out doorways and the edges .
●All of my carpets are tacked solidly to the floor so no edges get him unawares. There is shaggy carpet in this room , the corridor has none and then sisal carpet in the living room , the verandah has none . That way he can feel / hear the change in texture / sound when he is walking about to know where he is .
He was stubborn about learning where doorways were and where one room was in relation to another and in denial a little bit , but I simply let him know that he was going to lose his sight no matter what , and that preparation would be the best way to empower himself and keep some form of independence.
He agreed eventually and is now very glad that he did .
● I hung wind chimes on the verandah for auditory stimulation , and it also lets him know he is in that room too . ( our verandah is enclosed , I think you guys over seas call that a porch )
●I have purchased a few audio books for him as he liked to read as well , so now he just listens to them . I started him on them before he totally lost his sight so it wouldn't be sudden or weird for him . They are kept in one spot all the time, I simply ask him if he wants to listen and he tells me what . He needs me for this step . I was lucky enough to find quite a few at a garage sale but I'm prepared to purchase more from Amazon or eBay when the time comes . You can also ask your nearby bookstore if they have anything available for the sight impaired .
●I have a CD player on his room and I play a lot of cds , classical etc for him to listen to. He also likes having the radio on to the news in the morning .
●I do not move furniture at all in the areas where he likes to be to keep placement constant . So his bedroom , the bathroom , the living room and the verandah stay the same . If I am bored with a table I replace it with another table of similar height from another part of the house and I also replace chairs with chairs etc . So I can redecorate without changing what is where.
● I keep breakable objects to a minimum , most of the fragile items I now keep in a display case and I don't let anything that could topple or hurt him be on the tables in his walk path .
●I have given him his own shelf in the fridge, 2nd shelf , and I have liquids on the left , snacks in the middle, fruit and water on the right .
● I gave him wet wipes to use in the toilet , this is touchy but ...we do tend to wipe ourselves using some sight so a wet wipe is just added insurance I suppose that he's not missing anything if he goes #2
●His wardrobe is set up , left to right t shirts , dress shirts, ties , dress pants . I have his jeans on a shelf below and his underthings and socks are in a basket on the shelf so he can find them easily . I made sure he took note of the textures so he could tell them apart by ,material , sleeve length etc . ● how I figured out what needed to be done was quite simple , I closed my eyes and attempted to do certain things " blind" . That gave me a lot of insight into what needed to move and what would be a help in his feeling around .
I hope some of this helps, and I really wish you and your mom the very best .
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Dear "Lanfen74" - WOW! What a thorough comment to help "898luvmymom". You gave her so many great ideas/suggestions and your stepdad, Gillmore, is so blessed to have you help him to prepare as much as you could before he lost his eyesight completely. A+++++!
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You have a good opthamologist but now you need a good Low Vision Specialist Optometrist. An opthamologist treats diseases and injuries to the eye but the Low Vision Optometrist works to make the most of the vision you have left. They are sometimes hard to find but well worth the effort. When my dad lost most of his vision I was lucky that a friend of my daughters was a low vision specialist otherwise I never would have known they existed. With her help my dad continued to be able to use his computer with a GIANT screen, voice commands, etc. and to use a specialized reading machine to magnify and provide reading of all sorts of material like magazines, prescription drug bottles, letters from friends, even photographs. He also uses the BARD book cassettes available through the Library of Congress which gives him access to a tremendous number of books and magazines at no cost. They provide a special machine and send you the materials free of charge. Returning them is free also. She will need a form filled out by the doctor that specifies her need for the service that you send in to the participating library in your area.

There is also specialized equipment like a talking watch which my dad loves. I also found that an Amazon Alexa was helpful because he could tell it to play music, read a book, and could set his calendar and reminders to give him verbal cues since he could no longer read his writing. I also like that he could make a grocery list using it and I could pick it up right from my phone when I went to the grocery store. There are also special magnifying phone apps if your mom is a smart phone user, and voice commands for phones which my dad used frequently.

My dad is now just one month shy of 99 and has been dealing with this about 10 years. You need to get your mom using all this equipment now so she is able to learn how to use it and is very practiced as she ages as my dad has developed short term memory issues and now has forgotten how the equipment works or that it is available when he needs it. Until recently it has brought him many many hours of pleasure and he didn't feel that he was cut off from anything due to his low vision.

If you have any question you think I might help with please let me know.
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So sorry to hear this, my mother is 101 yrs old and has had this problem for 6 years, as you say, it is VERY upsetting. We looked everywhere for information and help and found nothing, no group could help us. We finally hit someone who REALLY gave us info and direction, we are now "coping" and doing well. One thing we found that helped...especially in the beginning, is the book, "Making Life More Livable" (Simple adaption for living at home after vision Loss) by Maureen A. Duffy. I'm not sure if it is on Amazon or Barnes & Noble but if you go by Maureens' name you should find it and be able to order it. It IS very simple instructions for adapting your house, clothes, food etc so your mother will be able to live alone. There are two catalogs of products for handicapped people, "Independent Living" and "MaxiAids" both also online. My mother is VERY independent and....we'll call it "strong willed", she is doing GREAT, but it does take A LOT of changing everything you do and how you "used to live", but is well worth the work! I wish you well, looks like you've gotten lots of great advice here, this site is WONDERFUL in every concern we caregivers/caregetters have!
Hang in there, you will see it fall into place one step at a time.
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898luvmymom Jul 2020
Thank you SO MUCH, gloris55!! I just checked on Amazon, and there it is.....Makiing Life More Livable by Maureen A. Duffy!! I'll order it right away! I REALLY appreciate your suggestions! And you're absolutely correct: this site is the BEST!!!
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My Mother is 85 and has severe macular Degeneration. While she is still able to read, she has great difficulty. I bought her a Kindle and signed her up for Audible.com, Great Courses and Great Courses Plus. She listens to podcasts, audible narrated books and takes all kinds of lecture courses on everything from the roots of religion to how the solar system works. She can't get enough of them. I also automated the lights in her house and installed Amazon Alexa echo dots, shows, and pluses around the house. Setup timers for lights to go on and off and simple voice commands that control one or a group. She hasn't had to find a light switch or lamp in 2 years. Visit many of the low vision websites. They will give you plenty of options. She can but software to dictate emails. Use Alexa to dial contacts on phone. Automation is your friend. Good luck.
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898luvmymom Jul 2020
I recently bought the Alexa Echo Dot for both her nightstand and her home office (that's right.....she calls it her office and that's exactly what it is😁!). She uses the one on the nightstand to adjust the temperature in the bedroom, since it's connected to the new thermostat I bought for her last month. All she has to say is "Alexa, I'm too warm or I'm too cold" and the temperature is changed accordingly! What a great device! And I already have timers set in her living room and in her bedroom, so that when she leaves her office at the end of the day, the lights are already on in the bedroom. Thanks again for your great input!!
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They have talking devices, such as talking clocks and watches, devices to tell them when to stop putting liquid into a cup, devices to help them watch television and so much more!
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898luvmymom Jul 2020
Excellent!!!
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You can get a low cost computer from Computers For The Blind. Visionware.org
There are monitors that will enlarge
And I have seen advertised software that is voice enabled.
Along with the suggestions to have her see a Low Vision Specialist I hope these help. I can imagine how frustrating this can be as well as scary. I have had eye problems for the past 2 years and I keep telling myself....be happy that you did not loose the vision in your eye!
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898luvmymom Jul 2020
I'l check out a larger computer monitor, Grandma1954! Thank you for your suggestion, and all the best to you!!
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My aunt has glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa so she went blind a lot earlier in life. She switched from reading Agatha Christie novels to books on tape. She used to sew on sewing machine and knit and switched to hand projects. She has friends that take her grocery shopping. She listens to the radio. My mom painted her a painting of her backyard with lots of textures so she can visualize everything by touch. the The family has talked about gifting her with and Alexa of Siri voice-activated device. The only thing I wish she would do is get rid of some of her clutter which is a tripping hazard.
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898luvmymom Jul 2020
Thanks for your response, Taarna. I have ordered the Alexa device Echo Dot, and it's really quite helpful in many ways! I hope your aunt will enjoy it!
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You have some great suggestions here. As annoying as technology can be at times, it can be a great asset in a moment like this. Use it to your advantage!! Check in with the assn for the Blind to learn more about all the adaptive technology that is available and increasing each day. Find the many associations for the visually impaired to check out membership pricing. Years ago (when I worked with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, now known as Learning Ally) you needed special equipment to listen to their digital books but we've come a long way. Now with adaptive technology and voice recognition you can download books from many sources and write letters and emails. It's reading and communication in a different form and requires some adjustment but it definitely works. Good luck in your journey.
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898luvmymom Jul 2020
Geddyupgo, I have indeed received some great suggestions here, and yours are right up there with the best!! Thank you so much!!
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Start now: If you haven't, introduce her to recorded books either commercial or free through your state commission for the blind. From one of the blind associations get her lessons in using the computer as well as any sighted person. Your local library may be able to aid with this also. And a place like the Lighthouse can train her to manage everyday living. It isn't the same as having sight, but it can be fun to learn how well you can manage.
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898luvmymom Jul 2020
Wonderful ideas, helpme99! I appreciate your suggestions.
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Not sure how active your mom us but ask her opthamologist to refer you to the Division of Blind Services in your county. There will be able to train and help her find with some simple skills to help her adjust to her diminishing vision. Accessibility software is available for her computer.
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898luvmymom Jul 2020
The accessibility software is a great idea! Thanks very much, kmich0001.
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