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29 March (Sat) for Staff training
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  • 1) Open communication with the elderly

    If it’s possible, caregivers should keep their loved ones involved in the discussion about their eyecare. Find out what he/she thinks. Does he/she want to keep driving? Do they want to be able to read often? Things might go more smoothly if you have open dialogue and conversation rather than just imposing rules.

  • 2) Get glasses checked regularly

    Elders are like anyone else who occasionally sits on, sleeps on, loses, and occasionally may step on their eyeglasses. Only you know your elder’s tendencies and history with the care of eyeglasses and personal belongings. It may be worthwhile to select twistable, bendable, near-indestructible eyeglasses. Look for eyewear in terms of their durability, anti-reflective coating and the scratch-resistance of lenses.

    Tip A: Try “new” glasses in the old shape and size or have new frames in old designs with the new degree change. Always have spare glasses on standby too.

    Tip B: Accessories like a string or fashionable attachments for glasses to wear around the neck, so that they don’t lose them or forget where they put them.

  • 3) Make use of reading tools

    Use magnifiers with in- built lights and supplement room lighting when indoors. Dimmers and candle lit rooms may be romantic but declining vision is better served by brighter lighting.

    The OWL Optical Wallet Light (left) is a credit card-sized light and magnifier. It is easy to use and to carry. It fits in wallets and pocketbooks with ease. The magnification and light will illuminate and magnify books, magazines, labels, menus and more. It even lights up keyholes and other objects in the dark! It is perfect for reading restaurant menus, maps, magazines, phonebooks as well as medicine labels.

  • 4) Protect your eyes from excessive bright light

    Use sunglasses when outdoors. Protect eyes from excess strain from bright blazing sunlight. Sunglasses may prevent unnecessary formation of free radicals and protects macula from long-term damage. Make careful consideration to sunglasses lense selection if the elder decides to go with automatically adjusting light sensitive lenses called photochromic lenses

  • 5) Prepare a nutritious meal

    Use sunglasses Consume a nutritious diet containing a lot of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. This can help your eyes stay healthy with the right kind of supplements Vitamins like Omega3, health supplements can help boost health. Ensure proper eating routine and balanced meals.

  • 6) Embrace technology

    Computers and mobile phones with big keypads, screens and fonts can enhance assisted living. Invest in technology like large screen computers/ television; iPads have a large selection of enlarged fonts sizes and brighter screens. Computer programs or web sites that have enlarged font, readers, touch screen technology or voice activation functions.

  • 7) Prepare for medical emergencies

    Use medical alert system, like monitors, security webcams or auto dial phones and emergency call buttons to assure you of their safety when they are alone or unaccompanied.

    In cases of emergency hospitalization have a medicine / tablet list ready for doctors check. A sample of an “e-pill weekly medication kit list handing is attached for your convenience. (See attached sample and downloadable file)

    Use several pillboxes to organize and help keep track of medication and tablets. Avoid contact lens. Useful to have ID wrist bands with allergy and contact details if the elders get lost.

  • 8) Go for regular eye examinations

    Eye Examinations once a year should be part of routine health care for all seniors. Look for a doctor with patience and experience with elders and understand their needs and the family needs. Get annual eye checks. See if you can get a doctor involved in the discussion, since a medical authority may make it easier for your loved one to accept their situation.

    Questions to consider

    a) How to make elders accept medical treatment and go for medical examinations, especially when elders refuse medical care?

    Barring medical emergencies, refusal to go to the doctor is best handled creatively. What works one time may not work in other circumstances. Keep on thinking and trying. It doesn’t hurt to keep your fingers crossed. In addition to keeping a sense of humor, the following approaches have proven successful in role of diffusing the tension for elders who refusals to go to the doctor.

    There are a number of triggers to “not going to the doctor” sentiments. Chronic pain, stress, physical and/or mental exhaustion and or uncertainty and anxiety over their health and basic fear of the unknown are on the short list. Try to ascertain what are their concerns.

    Simple Caregiver Technique

    i) Seek peer support. Or seek another senior or good friend, be it a spouse, relative or social group member, who could advise or someone who would convince them to go for eye operations or annual check ups.

    If you’re doing a lot of extra driving to accommodate your loved one, remember that you’re not alone — there are plenty of other people doing the same thing. See if you can contact other caregivers and share some of the responsibilities with other family members.

    ii) Seek understanding from other siblings, neighbours, friends. Hospitals, senior centers, and adult day cares often provide free transportation for elderly people to and from the home. Don’t be afraid to ask around, as relatives are ever willing to help. Car pool

    iii) Evaluate public transportation. Many regions have buses with hydraulic lifts that help people with walkers or wheelchairs. However, if a loved one isn’t used to taking the bus, a caregiver might want to take the trip with him a few times so he gets the hang of it.

    iv) List down transportation options and keep it by the phone. Include the names and numbers of any friends, neighbors, other caregivers, shuttle services, and cab companies. Program speed dial important numbers.

    v) Join support groups or associations See attached list of associations where elders can be active. Eg. Tsao Foundation, Lions Elder, C3A, Active ageing council etc.

    vi) Arrive early for medical appointments. They move slowly. If you’re going to take your parent to a doctor’s appointment, give them 30 minutes or more from the time you arrive until the time you get them into your car.

  • 9) Allow time for recreation

    Be patient with the elderly, make them feel loved. Give them time to interact with friends, neighbours and old acquaintances. Introduce playtime with pets, computer games and sports and exercise activities with interactive games like Wii, board games, Tai Chi and Chair Yoga. Sports and regular exercises have social, physical and therapeutic effect.

    When they get angry at their limitations and disabilities and bemoan their present state, as hard as it is, placate them and make them think of how worthy their lives are and what they mean to their loved ones. They may have fear of the unknown, depression and have anxiety or panic attacks. Regular exercise and a routine social program may alleviate these concerns.

    Enjoy their old stories again. The stories will always be the same ones from 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Just listen, nod and smile as if you have heard them the first time. Encouragement and soft words are all that’s needed if or when that day of increasingly diminishing eyesight comes for any of us.

  • 10) Take care of yourself

    Caregivers should remember to have enough time for sufficient rest and time to relax. Don’t neglect your own personal well being. Make time for yourself and have your own recreation, be it a trip to the movies, sports activities or timeout into the countryside. A healthy happy caregiver leads to a happy healthy elderly!

    In conclusion, clear vision and keen sight is a crucial aspect that provides a good quality of life for our elders. As you take care of elders, always remember to stay positive and keep trying. You may also seek help from friends and support groups. You are not alone. Soldier on.

Appendix A ( PDF for download)

Appendix B

List of useful associations, resources and support groups

Ageless online: Its just a number. http:
Agency for Integrated Care (AIC)

Alzheimer’s Disease Association
Centre for Enabled Living
Community health engagement program (CHEP)
Council for Third Age (C3A) -ageing well (Age well, live well)
Health Promotion Board
Lions Befrienders Seniors Activity Centre (Elderly Day Care Rehabilitation Centre)
Ministry of Social and Family Development
Ministry of Health
National Council of Social Service

Singapore program for Integrated Care for the Elderly (SPICE)
Singapore Silver Pages
Women’s Initiative for Ageing Successfully (WINGS)
Young Women’s Christian Association Adult Day Centre (Elderly Social Day Centre)