Helping Seniors Use Reading Magnifiers

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Posted Feb 20th, 2019 in Caregiver Support, Health & Wellbeing

Helping Seniors Use Reading Magnifiers

With age, the eyes tend to get worse when it comes to focusing on small print and tiny objects. This can make it very hard for aging adults to read. Since reading is an enjoyable hobby and the ability is important for any number of things, it’s wise for family caregivers to investigate whether reading magnifiers might make a difference.

There are many conditions that contribute to reduced vision in aging adults, ranging from simple eye strain and headaches to more serious eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Chronic eye infections, dry eye and more can also affect how well seniors can see up close to read. For some vision problems, aging adults are no longer able to stay on their own, due to the health and safety issues of not being able to see. In these cases, they depend on family caregivers and home care providers to assist with everyday tasks.

Low vision devices like magnifiers may give some seniors the ability to read. Using powerful magnification, these devices enlarge tiny print so that the elderly adult can see it. Magnifiers can be used for any number of reading tasks. The success of magnifiers often leads seniors to be able to do a few things on their own, without relying on family caregivers or home care providers. When they can do things like read a magazine, see a prescription bottle, look at photo albums, and follow a recipe, they feel more confident in their ability to do things for themselves, no matter how small.

Magnifiers come in all sizes and shapes, from small hand-held models to those mounted on large stands with swivel necks. Some have built-in lights while some pair with computer or television screens to enlarge words and pictures. Seniors can use different magnifiers for each task. However, it can be a little frustrating and annoying to start using magnifiers and elderly adults may lose patience. Family caregivers and home care providers can help encourage the use of magnifiers and assist as necessary.

Some of the best tips for integrating magnifiers into an elderly adult’s daily life center around proper light, the right power, and good positioning. Light is extremely important for doing up-close work for seniors with poor vision. Family caregivers should ensure that seniors are sitting in a place with great lighting to provide more contrast. The magnifiers should also be the right power or magnification for the task at hand. Reading a food label at the store may not require much magnification but using one to read a book or do handicrafts might need a lot more.

Finally, the aging adult should be positioned properly to use the reading magnifier. They should be not too close or too far from the reading material for maximum viewing. The posture should be good in that they should not hunch over the book or magazine. Not only does this block the light, but it could make seniors dizzy or give them a headache.

While there isn’t much that family caregivers and home care providers can do to restore an elderly adult’s vision once it starts to go, they can assist with reading magnifiers that will help seniors train their ability to read for many years to come.

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