Embracing Change, Supporting Mum
Amanda Little is facing one of the busiest times of her life. She runs a consulting business, looks after her daughter and helps Nancy, her mother, who at 85 has recently been classified as legally blind.
It’s a situation that has crept up on Amanda over recent years and one she says she manages because, “that’s just what you do”.
“Mum has had macular degeneration for many years and she has managed very well living in her own home,” said Amanda. “In the last six months her vision has deteriorated to the point where she is legally blind. She can’t read the newspaper and recently found that she can’t read sign boards at the train station anymore either.”
Despite this, Amanda says Nancy is determined to remain in her own home and live independently for as long as possible.
“Mum is very active and social. She goes to aquarobics every week, is a member of a book club and entertains friends at her house regularly. She really doesn’t want to rely on help around the house or when she is out, and my view is that for as long as she feels that way, we should respect her wishes.”
To help maintain her independence, Nancy and her family are gradually introducing low vision aids and putting plans in place.
“Recently Mum bought a document reader for reading printed materials and mail and my daughter and I prepared a phone list of friends and family in large type. We have set her up with a Daisy player so that she can continue to enjoy books and remain a member of her reading group, and she is able to take taxis for half price, which means now that she finds trains more difficult to use, she can still get around affordably.”
Knowing that Amanda has a full-time job and a daughter to care for, Nancy said she tries hard not to call on too much help. “I have three children but Amanda is the only one who lives in Sydney. She calls me every day and visits once a week to help me will bills, with reading anything my document reader can’t manage and with chauffeuring. I have help with weekly house-cleaning and grocery shopping and I know Amanda is always there if I get stuck. I also find that people are very helpful when I’m out and about. I wear my “low vision” badge and this lets people know why I’m asking for assistance,” Nancy said.
With a strong genetic history of macular degeneration – Nancy’s sister also has macular degeneration – Amanda is aware that she has a 50% risk of the disease. “While I’m not going to sit around worrying about a future with macular degeneration I do take precautions. I always find time to have annual health checks and make sure this includes an eye test and macula check. I have a very healthy diet and am aware of the importance of maintaining a good lifestyle.”
Nancy tells her story of living with macular degeneration. See more at: Nancy Little
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