Emergency Preparedness for a Senior Who is Coping with Low Vision

Caregivers in Springfield NECaregivers in Springfield NE

Low vision is one of the most common issues of older adulthood, and can influence your parent’s functionality and quality of life in a variety of ways. This is particularly true during emergency or disaster situations when they will need to respond to the world around them in different ways that they are accustomed to in order to stay safe and healthy. September is National Preparedness Month. This is the perfect time for you to work with your aging parent to put plans into place to ensure that they are as ready as possible to get through a disaster or emergency situation in a way that is as safe, healthy, and comfortable as possible. This can give both your aging loved one and you more confidence knowing that they are properly prepared whether you are with them at the time of this emergency or not.

Use these tips to help your parent coping with low vision prepare for an emergency or disaster situation:

• Encourage your parent to learn how to Braille. If your aging parent does not already know how to read Braille, encourage them to learn. Being able to read Braille is a way for your parent to effectively get all of the information that they need if they are not able to read the text information on emergency supplies, signs, and documents.

• Mark supplies clearly. Be sure that you mark your aging parent’s emergency supplies with labels that they are able to read easily, but that others can read as well. This can include having a Braille label as well as a large print label so that your parent can easily find and access their supply kit, as well as the individual supplies within the kit.

• Have extra assistive devices. If your aging parent uses glasses or contact lenses that help them with their low vision, make sure that they have extra of these in their kit, as well as the products and devices that they might need to take care of them. You might also want to consider having a collapsible white cane readily available to your parent to signify their vision problem quickly and easily to those around them.

• Try text to speech equipment. Communication is essential during emergency and disaster situations, but can be challenging for seniors who are dealing with functional limitations. Consider using text to speech equipment that will convert text messages and other text into spoken words so that your parent can better understand them. If they have this type of equipment for their personal use at home, be sure that you record identifying information about it, including the item, the brand, the model number, and the serial number. This will help them to have access to the right equipment during the emergency, and can allow them to create a thorough and accurate insurance claim if their item gets damaged or destroyed during the emergency situation.

• Bring their dog. No animals should ever be left in a home during an evacuation, but it is important to keep in mind that not all shelters allow pets inside. Service dogs, however, are always permitted. If your parent has a service dog trained to help them with their low vision, be sure that they bring this dog with them to help them with their functioning needs.


If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Springfield, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.

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