Advice for the Sandwich Generation regarding Blindness and Low Vision

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Tips on how the Sandwich Generation can Care for their Parents with Low Vision

The Sandwich Generation is typically adults in the age range of 30-years to 50-years, who are caring for both their own children and their aging parents.

If you are someone who fits into this description you are not alone. The PEW Research center estimated that 47% of middle age adults are providing some financial support to both their children, and their parents. PEW Research further finds 1 in 7 adults ages 40-59 are providing complete support for both their own children and a parent age 70 and older.

Club sandwich graphic.

It is reported that blindness and impaired vision are one of the leading causes of social dependency and economic burden facing the aging population. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy and Cataracts are the leading causes in blindness and visual impairment in the aging population. A literature review by Jennifer Braun highlighted that two-times as many people are affected by AMD as Alzheimer’s disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2025 the cases of diabetes will increase to 300-million worldwide. Diabetes is the only cause of Diabetic Retinopathy. The National Eye Institute recognizes that forty to forty-five percent of patients with diabetes have some form of Retinopathy. The loss of vision and visual quality is on the rise in the aging population and baby boomer generation.

The likelihood of an aging parent to have some from of visual impairment or blindness is increasingly high. There are steps that you can take to help a parent maintain some independence.

  1. Visit the national organizations for the blind websites for resources for independent living.
  2. Contact organizations such as Lighthouse for the Blind and Division of Blind Services. These groups offer many classes like: mobility, cooking, self-care, and personal management. Often, there are programs that will provide magnified readers and other aides to assist in diminishing eyesight. To find locations in your area, do a simple Google search.
  3. Request all financial statements, important documents, banking records, medical documents and the like in an alternative format to standard print such as: Large Print, Braille, Audio or an Accessible PDF format.

A senior citizen walking down a park-side sidewalk.

Note: Requests for alternative formats (accessible documents) are made directly through the company/organization issuing the statement. Attached is a sample letter of request that you can use as a guideline or tool to assisting your loved one in gaining some independence.

Independence is often something that we are uncertain how to maintain or provide, especially in areas that are unfamiliar. However, providing a pathway to independence for a person with a visual impairment or blindness is possible. Independence will enhance their quality of life, while alleviating some of the responsibility of you the caregiver.

As a caregiver it is important to take time for yourself, and give yourself permission to not be everything to everyone at every moment. At Braille Works we understand that there is a lot to navigate in the world of blindness and low vision; we hope that you find our many resources beneficial.

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