Are you a caregiver for someone who is visually impaired?  February is national age related macular degeneration (AMD) and low vision awareness month.  Throughout the course of the month, we’ll be sharing tools and resources for both visually impaired people as well as loved ones and caregivers of those who are visually impaired.  Today, we’d like to focus on caregivers and how we can best support them.

Caregiver’s needs pyramid

According to psychologist Stephen G. Wiet, a caregiver’s needs can be summarized in four parts:

Pyramid of caregiver's needs with labels matching the above descriptions. Level 1 is at the bottom of the pyramid and Level 4 at the top.

1) Help Me Make Better Decisions: Caregivers are constantly researching answers to help with medical, legal, and financial decisions.

2) Simplify My Life: Caregivers are tasked with setting priorities and checking off one item at a time, while looking for resources that can provide support.

3) Peace of Mind: Once major decisions are handled and support systems are in place, the caregiver can begin to shift their attention to other responsibilities.

4) Time for Me: As needs are met in the lower levels of the hierarchy, the caregiver can begin to take time out for self-care, recharging their batteries and ultimately providing better care for the recipient.

Avoiding caregiver fatigue

Common Signs of Caregiving Burnout

Verywell / Cindy Chung

According to reporting by the AARP, over one third of caregivers say caregiving is highly stressful, and about 20% say that caregiving has made their own health worse.  Signs of caregiver burnout (also called caregiver fatigue) may include:

  • Feeling easily flustered or frustrated
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Feeling uninterested in hobbies or other usual activities
  • Forgetfulness
  • Short-temperedness
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless

You can avoid burnout by looking after your own needs as depicted in the pyramid above.  If you could use some support reaching levels 3 and 4, we are here to help.  Here are some actions you can take today:

  1. Check out our resources.  We have state-based resources, national resources, and tools for helping cope during COVID-19.  We also have blog posts on everything from dealing with a low vision diagnosis to determining the best home lighting for low vision, plus a vibrant Facebook community where we share low vision life hacks, inspirational stories, and news on the latest technologies for low vision and blindness.
  2. Help your loved one book a free online low vision consultation.
  3. If you have specific questions about our technologies or how we can help, you may contact us for answers.

Remember, by taking care of yourself you will ultimately be able to provide better care for your loved one.

Sources: Living Well with Low Vision by Prevent Blindness (https://lowvision.preventblindness.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Caring-for-the-Visually-Impaired-English.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3jpbtoHNr5CP7m116b06Qsmcpb26yEXh-zs-s9bclbd7YfBiQqqu8zSHY), Verywell Health (https://www.verywellhealth.com/understanding-caregiver-burnout-4707773)

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