How To Live Independently With Low Vision And Blindness?

My brother Morgan was born to be a farmer. Ever since we were children, we knew we had such different interests. I loved reading in my bedroom while Morgan spent his days outdoors, helping our father take care of our tiny vegetable patch.

When we grew up, Morgan pursued his dream of owning a farm. Eventually, he was able to scrape up enough to buy 47 hectares of land that he now tends with his son, Roger. The farm wasn’t just his business; it was his form of therapy, especially after his wife Laura passed away a few years ago.

Two weeks ago, Morgan called me up out of the blue at the university. I’d just finished a class and was glad for the break. I hadn’t heard from him in a month, so I was happy to take the call. But then he told me about his latest news.

He had just come from the optometrist with Roger. He’d been having some trouble seeing clearly. They used to look for the top optometrist.

After a series of tests, he found out that he had age-related macular degeneration or AMD. He had been struggling with blurred vision for some time, but he kept ignoring it until it had become too bad.

Now, he was in danger of going blind.

The optometrist had prescribed eyeglasses and recommended eye treatments like laser therapy and medications to help slow down the degeneration. But Morgan hadn’t made any decisions yet, except for the glasses.

That weekend, I drove down to Morgan’s farm to visit him. I hadn’t seen him in six months, and I was excited to see him, even in such sad circumstances. I would be staying for a week to help him and Roger fix up the farm and make adjustments.

Roger welcomed me at the door with a tight hug. In the living room, I could see Morgan wearing his new glasses and a big smile. At 64 years old, my brother still had the same boyish smile he’d always had.

We got right down to business. I’d read up on AMD after he called me up, and I knew that Morgan had to decide soon about his treatment. If left untreated, the blurry area in Morgan’s eyes would get bigger over time and make it difficult for him to work at the farm. He would no longer be able to drive and do routine tasks that required excellent vision.

We talked about the laser treatment the optometrist was suggesting. After much discussion, Morgan finally committed to getting the treatment.

We also discussed how Roger and I could make his life on the farm easier. We all knew that Morgan would want to go on taking care of the chickens and his rows of vegetables.

First on our list was to change the lamps and bulbs in their house, the farm shed, and the coop. Roger would also have to install lights in the pathway to the farm so that his father can go back to the house safely when it gets darker in the afternoon.

Everything had to be well-lit with minimal glare. This was important, especially in his office, where he would be reading receipts, mails, and other documents.

We would also have to rearrange Morgan’s farming and household tools to be easily accessible. Another helpful suggestion from the optometrist was the use of a tactile system such as felt, rubber bands, or sandpaper cutouts to mark the placements of objects in their home. This would help Morgan to identify the items he used most often easily.

We decided to install the environmental sensors for the farm in a more accessible place so that Morgan could get the information he needed quickly. That way, he would still be able to keep the crops in tiptop condition despite his poor eyesight.

Even his closet would have to be rearranged. I also bought some drawer dividers online to organize his small articles of clothing and other items in his drawer.

Morgan closed his eyes at the thought of all the arrangements that needed to be made. I could feel his frustration and his fear at the thought of losing his eyesight and having to depend on someone else.

But I pointed out that all of these changes are necessary to keep him active and independent.

All week long, we worked on these home modifications. Morgan himself made the signs on the crop beds and all around the farm with bold and colorful fonts.

I got rid of all the clutter on the floor that could trip Morgan up and cause an injury. Roger got to work on installing the sensors for the farm and some grab bars in high-risk places like the bathroom and the kitchen.

After a week, Morgan’s home was ready. I said goodbye to my brother with a promise to call often. I know that my brother has a long road ahead of him, but I’m confident he’ll be fine.

For people with low vision and blindness, living alone can be such a daunting task. But with these home and workplace modifications, it can be manageable. And remember, independent living doesn’t mean solitary living – it’s okay to ask for help.

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Business Nest

Business Nest’s goal is to help entrepreneurs build the business of their dreams and to assist anyone working in a small business makes smart decisions about products, services, and ideas.

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