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Caregivers of Older Adults Blog | Hearing & Vision

Seven Things All Caregivers Should Know About Cataracts

By mmLearn.org on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 @ 02:30 PM

More than 90 percent of people have at least one cataract by the age of 65, according to the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. While cataracts are extremely common in seniors, not all caregivers understand what they are and how they impact vision. There's no better time to shine the light on this important senior wellness topic than during June's Cataract Awareness Month. Let's count down seven things all caregivers need to know about cataracts.

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The 411 on Glaucoma and Aging Eyes

By mmLearn.org on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 @ 11:23 AM

The risk of severe eye issues increases significantly after the age of 65, according to a special report on aging and vision loss from the American Foundation for the Blind. Glaucoma, along with age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy, earns a spot among the four leading eye diseases. Let's take a closer look at this common condition, along with what seniors and their caregivers can do to promote optimal vision and quality of life.

About Glaucoma and Aging Eyes

Glaucoma comprises a group of diseases which cause vision loss by damaging the eye's optic nerve. There's no single type of glaucoma, although many forms -- including the most common types, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG) -- involve a problem with the eye's drainage system in which fluid drains too slowly leading to buildup, pressure, and eventual damage to the optic nerve and surrounding parts of the eye. If left untreated, loss of vision can occur.

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Everything Caregivers for the Elderly Need to Know About Cataracts

By mmLearn.org on Sat, Jul 11, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

More than half of Americans have had a cataract or cataract surgery by the age of 80, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). However, just because cataracts are common among the elderly doesn't mean seniors have to live with poor vision and declines in quality of life. Here's what seniors and caregivers of seniors need to know to manage cataracts and promote optimal eye health.

Blurred vision? Cataracts may be the cause.

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Hearing Loss, Isolation, and Beyond: What Caregivers Need to Know

By mmLearn.org on Sat, Jun 20, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

Nearly half of adults aged 75 and older have a hearing impairment, according to the NIH. Unfortunately, when symptoms are ignored or left untreated, they can get worse. Not only that but adult hearing loss can also lead to other complications, including feelings of frustration, withdrawal from social activities, and even depression. Let's take a closer look at the issue of hearing loss, along with what caregivers can do to help their aging loved ones manage hearing loss.

About Hearing Loss and Seniors

More than 37 million American adults -- 15 percent -- report having at least some trouble with hearing, and the condition becomes even more common with age.

There are many different forms of hearing loss, ranging from the inability to hear certain sounds to complete loss of hearing. Its causes are many, and can include everything from heredity to long-term exposure to loud sounds.

Generally, hearing loss can be divided into two groups: sensorineural hearing loss, in which the inner ear or auditory nerve incurs permanent damage; and the largely treatable conductive hearing loss, in which sound waves can no longer access the inner ear.
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Age-Related Macular Degeneration: What Caregivers of Seniors Need to Know

By mmLearn.org on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 @ 04:00 PM

Up to 11 million people in this country have some form of age-related macular degeneration, and that number is expected to double by the year 2050, according to the BrightFocus Foundation. Because age is a major risk factor for this chronic disease, it's particularly important for elder caregivers to understand this leading cause of irreversible vision loss for people over the age of 60. Here's what you need to know.

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration is the breakdown of the central area of the retina, also known as the "macula." While this condition is not painful, it can lead to to irreversible vision loss, including the inability to see fine details, compromising "straight ahead" functions, including everything from driving to recognizing faces.  Read More

Understanding the Emotional Aspects of Vision Loss for Seniors

By mmLearn.org on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 @ 03:30 PM

More than 20 million Americans over the age of 18 report some form of vision loss, according to a report from the American Foundation for the Blind. As we age, the risk of severe eye problems increases significantly -- particularly for seniors. While the physical effects of vision loss are frequently discussed, the emotional aspects of vision loss are often overlooked. Here's what you need to know to help your aging loved one cope with vision loss.

As care giver, your helping hand is more vital than ever.
A Different Kind of Grief

Seniors undergo many changes throughout the aging process. But awareness that these changes are coming doesn't make them easier to accept. In fact, the combined effects of aging -- including everything from housing issues to health threats -- can lead to extreme emotional distress for seniors. 

Just like everyone else, seniors need to feel valued. Vision loss may detract from your aging loved one's sense of being valuable. In fact, some experts have compared what people go through when vision loss first occurs to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief. And just as all emotions are valid when grieving the loss of a loved one, they are equally valid when grieving vision loss. It's not unusual for seniors to react with denial, anger and depression when vision loss occurs. With ample care giver support, however, they can also reach acceptance.

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Hearing Loss in the Elderly: Do You Hear What I Hear?

By Cyndy Marsh on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Huh? If this question surfaces frequently from a spouse, parent or friend even before you’ve finished the sentence, it may be time for a hearing aid. Accepting the reality that one may need a hearing aid is a sensitive issue and can often lead to years of frustration. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that “one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.” The quote “Getting old isn’t for sissies” attributed to the late actress Bette Davis, sure hits the nail on the head when it comes to the loss of hearing. Not being able to hear can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor’s advice, to respond to doorbells or alarms, and also very difficult to enjoy a nice conversation with friends and family making it frustrating and embarrassing.

One of the biggest fears of admitting the need for a hearing aid may be attributed to old attitudes and stories about the difficulties of getting used to one or even giving in to vanity rather than accepting the reality and enjoying a fuller and much more tuned in life.  Hearing aid expertise has come a very long way since the first ear trumpets of the 17th century and each year there are milestones in communication technology that continue to expand.

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Can you hear me now? Hearing and the Elderly

By Nina Rios on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 @ 01:30 PM

While our 90 year old mother sat in the back seat of the car, my sister and I chatted as we drove for a weekend outing.  Mother's comments and questions regarding our front seat discussion did not seem to convey that her hearing aid was malfunctioning – as she often complained about when we had to repeat complete and often intricate conversations to her.  My sister and I were convinced that mother's hearing was very often selective – hearing only what she really wanted to hear and when she wanted to hear it.  We understand this is all part of the journey – after all at 90 years of age she continues to amaze us all with her energy and enthusiasm for life;  nonetheless the constant needed repetitions and misunderstandings can often lead to frustration and even feelings of isolation.

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