Vision changes affect every person differently. Your elderly family member might not have felt prepared for a sudden change in how she sees the world. She could react in some of these ways.
Anger Is Part of Grief
Losing her vision is a true loss for your senior. This can be especially difficult if she’s never had vision troubles before now. When someone loses something they’ve relied on for their entire life, there’s a lot of guilt and possibly anger about what she can’t control. If your elderly family member doesn’t deal with how she’s feeling, she can hold onto that anger for too long and that’s not healthy for her.
Denial Is Common
For some people who are losing their vision, denial is the reaction of choice. Your senior might honestly not notice how bad her eyesight has gotten. But if she’s unable to read well or she’s having difficulty with tasks like driving, her denial can be more than an inconvenience. In the case of driving, she may actually be unsafe on the road and that’s not something that you can let her continue doing.
She May Stop Engaging in the World Around Her
Another common reaction is to become isolated and to stop engaging with others and with activities that your senior used to enjoy. This can happen because she no longer can drive, or it can happen because she feels as if she can’t do the same things she did in the past. The reality is that there’s only a small part of your senior’s life that truly needs to change. She may still be able to do most of the other things she enjoys as long as you help her to make that possible.
Acceptance Means She’s Ready for Tools
When your elderly family member is accepting of the fact that her reality has changed a bit, she’s ready for tools and to try new things. Her vision may never be what it was, but that doesn’t mean her life has to end. Elderly care providers can take over the driving for her, along with any other tasks that depend on vision at home. Other tools, like audiobooks, can help her to enjoy the latest books from her favorite authors, just in a different way.
If your senior is still having extreme difficulty managing her vision loss, she may need a little more help. Talking to a counselor about what she’s feeling and experiencing can help her to work through those emotions and get closer to accepting what’s happening.