While feeding himself one day, a client needed assistance with getting the food off his plate. I started to help him and I saw that his glasses needed cleaning. As I was cleaning the glasses the client started to feed himself and didn’t need my help. I put the glasses back on to see if that made a difference.
What I discovered was that the glasses were making his plate blurry and he couldn’t see his food. He had bifocals and had been wearing them for many, many years. Unfortunately at this point he wasn’t remembering how to adjust his head to accommodate the bifocals; therefore, his plate was blurry and he couldn’t see his food.
Sometimes prescriptions are taken for granted. By utilizing the above example for some 20 years, we at Tandem Strength & Balance have been able to show that the need for trifocals/bifocals can change and no longer be appropriate for your loved one.
Walking with bifocals/trifocals
can lead to unsteady walking, missing a chair when sitting down or not seeing a curb or step. Again, this is the result of the individual forgetting or having lost the ability to move their head to compensate for their current lens prescription. A good question for family members would be to ask about the initial purpose for the trifocals/bifocals. A great compromise would be to place “readers” at the location where your loved one reads the most.
Cataracts or Glaucoma
People with cataracts or glaucoma are noted to have one of the highest fall rates as their vision is limited. At night when it is dark, vision becomes unreliable and falls are more likely to occur. Many older adults cannot tell if they are standing up straight unless they can see a wall or chair to align them in an upright position.
To help prevent falls, schedule regular appointments to get eyes checked and glasses adjusted. If someone does wear glasses, they should be kept on the nightstand for easy access if they are needed in the middle of the night. The use of a night light or clapper will also be helpful.