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Is it Time to Hire a Home Health Aide?

by Viki Kind, End-of-Life Expert
May 18, 2012

Question: I am a caregiver to my 75 year old mother suffering from bad eyesight. When should I consider calling a home health aide?

Answer: Thanks for being a caregiver for your mother. I would recommend that you spend the day with your mom watching to see how she manages in her home. Many people who have bad eyesight do just fine. They have learned how to cope with their disability and live a good life. But many people stop taking their medications correctly, stop cooking healthy meals, or are at risk of falling in their own home. So, you will need to watch her go through her day and see what she can do and not do. If you see that she is struggling, then you need to arrange for care right away. The more vulnerable a people become, the more we need to step in to protect them.

You should also reach out to your local Braille Institute at They have resources for those with limited vision, those who are losing their vision, and those who are completely blind. The Braille Institute will be able to help both you and your mother to build a better plan. 

You may also want to reach out to your local Center for Independent Living in your town. This is an organization that has equipment to help people stay in their homes if they have a vision, hearing or physical limitation. They also train people to use the new equipment so people can live as independently as possible. To find them, just type in Center for Independent Living and the name of your town and state.   

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Viki Kind is a clinical bioethicist, professional speaker, and hospice volunteer. Her book, The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices For Those Who Can't,” guides families and professionals through the difficult process of advocating for those who can no longer speak for themselves. She has recently launched a DVD that includes a template to create a quality-of-life statement.

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