Tips for Working with Seniors with Vision Loss

For Professional Caregivers and Healthcare Workers

This section connects caregivers and health professionals with advice for working with older adults with vision loss. These sites offer basic tips and guidelines for interacting with people who have a visual impairment, suggestions for identifying vision loss in older people, hints for caregivers, and ideas for program design and best practices.
Below is a list of topics you'll find in this section. Click on a title to jump to a specific topic.

Caregivers: Advice & Resources

Illinois Council on Long Term Care
Creative and practical advice for improving the quality of life of the visually impaired. Describes how to recognize vision loss in older people, the social and psychological effects of low vision, and advice on adaptations and devices.
Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
This 40-page pdf-format handbook includes sections on understanding and adjusting to vision loss, low vision aids, and caregivers’ checklists for nurses, dining room staff, social workers, and others. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Network of Care
The dangers of ignoring vision loss in older adults; specific steps to ensure better care.
National Association of State Units on Aging
Practical suggestions for ensuring that the services provided under the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) are responsive to the needs of older persons with vision loss and their caregivers. This pdf-format document must be downloaded before it can be read.
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
A downloadable PowerPoint file with information on referral, vision rehabilitation, and service provision for staff of aging and disabilities resource centers.

Healthcare Professionals: Advice & Resources

Vision Australia
Guidelines for making hospital stays as comfortable as possible for patients who are blind or visually impaired.
Blindskills, Inc
Tips for hospital personnel caring for people who are blind or visually impaired; includes suggestions for communication, guiding, and orienting the person to the room.

Professional Etiquette with People who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Vision Australia
Helpful tips for people who have limited experience interacting with people who are blind or visually impaired.

Program Design & Personnel Training

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
This free, self-paced online course provides literacy teaching techniques and an understanding of the issues faced by adults with visual impairment and low literacy skills.

Research: Professional Services for Seniors with Vision Loss

New England Journal of Medicine, May 4, 1995
Although the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment increases with age, most surveys of ocular disease do not include nursing home residents.