Whether you've recently lost your vision due to an accident or a progressive disease, going blind in adulthood is a big change. You're probably feeling very lost and unsure about what to do next. To help you find your way, here are a few tips for navigating this difficult time in your life and getting back on the road to independent living.
Bring Your Concerns Up with Your Doctor
After a serious injury, it's common to feel embarrassed if you can't do the same things you used to. You might feel troublesome and like you're bothering your doctor every time you ask a question or inquire about special tools for the blind. However, it's very important that you discuss your troubles in depth with your doctor because he or she is likely the one who is most able to get you the tools you need to navigate your life.
Medical aids may be partially covered by your insurance, meaning you can get them at lower cost if prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor also needs to know if you're willing to try experimental aids, like video cameras that provide physical feedback in order to help you navigate. You might be surprised about the available options for even the most specific problems related to blindness, but you may not be offered the specific help you're looking for unless you ask.
Your doctor also needs to be kept up to date on your mental state as you adjust to loss of vision. He or she may issue you a precautionary referral to a therapist who specialized in adult disabilities, since the transition to living without sight can be stressful and emotionally taxing. Do your best to keep all of the professionals who work with you up to date on your physical and emotional well-being.
Realize That Your Caretaker Can Do More Than Cook and Clean
Unless you have a family member who can take care of you round the clock, you'll likely need some in-home health care while you readjust to life with reduced vision. Most home aide services offer things like cooking, bathing, running daily errands, and superficial medical care. However, like your doctors, your home health aide is likely able to offer you much more help than you might initially think.
For example, if you have a computer and smartphone, you can get your aid to help you go to the options menus and change the settings to turn on the screen reader. You might also have your caretaker help you mark areas in your home with braille labels, such as storage bins or food containers. Your helper can also use your computer to help you research other tools and equipment that will make it easier for you to eventually live independently.
Keep Your Hands Always Busy
If you lose your job as a result of your loss of vision, it's normal to feel despondent and bored. Fortunately, you can find productive ways to keep yourself busy before you end up too depressed. Organizations and nonprofits that benefit the blind will often hire blind employees or help them find a job if no openings are available within the group.
You should also get your caregiver to help you find out if any of your favorite hobbies have tools for blind participants or if there are blind-friendly variants you might enjoy. Having fulfilling leisure time is just as important for reducing stress as finding fulfilling work.
It may be difficult to get back into the world of independently working and taking part in group activities, but studies have shown that maintaining a sense of purpose is a great way to extend your life and reduce your overall stress. One way to help yourself keep growing and moving forward is to work out a life plan and find some way to advance along it each day, even if it's only in a small manner.
Losing your vision is a huge change that brings incredible stress with it, but it doesn't have to keep you from living your life to its fullest. Rely on the people around you and the organizations designed to help, and you'll be back on your feet and living independently sooner than you think.