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Vision Problems
Solutions for Residents Living with Visual Problems

Communication is the foundation to basic human rights and without it, humans feel isolated and undeserving. Having capability to communicate and express is a right that residents should enjoy and feel capable of doing no matter where they live.

Four Areas of Communication Disabilities

A resident living with a communication disability faces one or more issues:

  • Speech
  • Comprehension
  • Reading
  • Writing

Main Types of Communication Disabilities

Hearing

Hearing loss

For residents who are deaf or have a hearing loss it is difficult to hear what a staff member or another resident is saying and this gets in the way of receiving good care and thriving in the facility.

In a survey of Residential Care Facilities, they're asked: Do any of the residents use other equipment for people with hearing or speech impairments? Facilities told the Center for Disease Control (2010) that 96% of the residents did not use other equipment to assist in hearing or speech. (This does not include hearing aids)

Do any of the residents use other equipment for people with hearing or speech impairments? Do not include a hearing aid.
Responses of don't know (< 1%), and not ascertained (< 1%) and are not shown.
Source: 2010 CDC National Survey of Residential Care Facilities Survey (Facility Responses)

Other Disabilities that Hinder Communication

Movement - residents living with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may have difficulty moving their muscles to speak, using gestures, turning pages in a book and writing.

Cognition - residents who have intellectual disabilities from Alzheimer's disease later in life have problems remembering, learning, understanding, or problem-solving which can make communication challenging.

Language - residents who have aphasia after a stroke have difficulty understanding others, speaking, reading and writing. Aphasia is like being in a foreign country where you know what you want but you cannot understand others or express your needs.

Eyesight Issues

Residents who are blind or limited eyesight due to glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy have limited vision. They're unable to use their vision to receive communication or read.

In a survey of Residential Care Facilities, the Center for Disease Control (2010) asked: Do any of the residents suffer from blindness in both eyes or unable to see at all? Facilities reported back that 97% of the residents are not blind in both eyes nor are they unable to see at all.

Is the resident blind in both eyes or unable to see?
Responses of don't know (< 1%) and are not shown.
Source: 2010 CDC National Survey of Residential Care Facilities Survey (Resident Responses)
vision issues

Assisted living staff understands that some changes in vision are normal as people grow older and meant to alert residents to abnormal changes like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

Low vision optical devices like magnifying reading glasses and magnifiers are often used by residents to help with low vision problems. The different solutions and devices are for reading the newspaper, for watching TV, another for spotting street signs, and for reading labels on prescription bottles.

Doctors recommend starting with one device to see how a resident manages and then adding additional devices as they become used to working with one.

Residential Care Facilities reported that 87% or the residents do not have any trouble seeing even when wearing glasses or contact lenses.

Does the resident have any trouble seeing even when wearing glasses or contact lenses?
Responses of legitimate skip (3%), refusal (< 1%), and don't know (< 1%) and are not shown.
Source: 2010 CDC National Survey of Residential Care Facilities Survey (Resident Responses)

As you age, people find doing activities of daily living become more difficult. When vision loss or communication issues affect a resident, it's near impossible to thrive. All assisted living settings offer full-time help from staff who assist residents to communicate needs. Choose an assisted living facility that facilitates communication and better care through technology and other resources.

Carol Marak
Carol Marak

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.