Age-related macular degeneration is the result of degeneration of the macula—the central part of the retina of the eye. For people who are over the age of 59, it is the leading cause of vision loss. It progresses very differently within individuals, with some experiencing a very long time before any type of vision loss is evident. Researchers have determined several lifestyle choices that may slow down the progression of this disease. You, as a family caregiver, are in the best position to help your parent make the necessary changes.
Smoking is shown to double the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. If your loved one smokes, now is the time to quit. Smokefree.gov is a website that contains tools, tips and support to help your loved one become smoke free. They offer advice for both the smoker and the caregiver who is helping their loved one quit.
A whole-foods diet high in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables is recommended. Foods that are particularly good for the eyes include leafy greens, salmon and berries. Reduce the intake of packaged and prepared foods that are often high in trans fats, excess salt and sugar. Drink plenty of pure water and limit both alcohol and caffeine intake.
Maintain the correct blood pressure, blood sugar level as well as blood cholesterol level. This is accomplished through diet, exercise and managing stress. Medication may be required in some instances.
According to WebMD, “A new study suggests that regular exercise can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 70 percent.” The statistic was correct on individuals who exercised three or more times per week with enough effort to work up a sweat. Others that walked more than 12 blocks regularly reduced their risk by 30 percent. Ideally, your parent would want to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
It’s always best to start slow and work up in order to limit possible joint or muscle injury. Consider exercises such as tai chi, water aerobics, stationary bicycling, or hiking. It’s best to pick a form of exercise that your parent truly enjoys in order to ensure a long-term commitment. The local senior community center often offers a number of exercise classes designed with seniors in mind.
Elder Care Provider
Should your loved one need assistance with the daily activities of living, consider obtaining the aid of an elder care provider. These professionals can also prepare eye-healthy meals, do the grocery shopping and accompany your parent on daily walks or provide transportation to their favorite exercise class.
If you or someone you know is in need of a professional caregiver in Hutchinson, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.