Assisted living facilities for the blind present options to the elderly and their families that can help keep seniors safe, happy and living as independently as possible—for as long as possible. Blindness and vision loss can make living alone and daily activities such as climbing stairs, preparing meals, handling bills and tackling chores challenging. However, in a supportive community that caters to those with vision loss, seniors can enjoy the benefits of a secure and supportive environment at all times.
There are approximately 6.5 million seniors in the United States that require some type of assistance with daily living. With statistics citing that 1 in 6 seniors also live with some form of serious vision loss, it stands to reason that more individuals may be searching for blind senior living options at some point in the future. Here is what you should know about blind senior living options, what to look for in superior care facilities and information about costs and payment options.
Assisted Living for Seniors with Vision Loss
There are countless acronyms used to the array of facility provided care available to support the needs of seniors, including those who are blind or suffer from vision-related issues. Most of the following are commonly referred to under the umbrella term ‘assisted living’ but services may vary concerning location and the degree of assistance provided. Just a few common terms include:
- Adult Residential Care Homes
- Community Residential Facilities
- Community Foster Family Homes
- Residential Care Facilities
- Independent Living Communities
- Assisted Living Communities
- Independent Living Communities
- Skilled Nursing Centers
- Adult Day Care
It’s important to note that not all assisted or independent living facilities will have specially trained staff or customized rooms designed to support the needs for elder adults with complete vision loss, but most typically do have accommodations for those with mild to moderate visual impairments. The majority of care communities whether classified as independent or assisted living typically at minimum offer:
- Senior Housing
- Medical Care
- Balanced Meals
- Laundry Services
- Assistance with Activities of Daily Living as Needed
- Recreational Pursuits
- Transportation to Outings and Appointments
That being said, those who want their loved one to enjoy the comforts of home with the ability to remain as independent as possible should carefully consider investigating facilities that specifically cater to the needs of blind and visually impaired seniors.
Features to Look for in Blind Assisted Living Providers
Exceptional Staff Qualifications
The most important aspect of securing a safe and comfortable living environment for seniors with vision loss include finding a facility with a highly trained staff that understands the needs of blind and visually impaired residents. Staff caring for the blind require a lot of patience and must have clear communication skills to assist charges in getting navigating to their destinations. Caregiver teams also should understand the signs of progression in conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and other common senior vision related problems so they can better meet patient’s changing needs.
Blind-Friendly Structural Features and Amenities
Facilities wholly dedicated to blind and low vision patients will likely have blind-friendly features designed the building’s structure, common rooms, living spaces and communication facilities. However, if you’re considering a living arrangement in a mixed community setting, look for one with a wing or unit with these minimum qualifications to keep loved ones comfortable.
- Halls and rooms that are easy to navigate and free of clutter.
- Sections with sharply contrasting walls and carpeting with reduced lighting for low vision senior’s needs.
- Directions and signs in hallways and rooms in large print with Braille options.
- Assistive devices and tools such as oversized digital clocks, automatic reader clocks, large button phones with Braille features, magnifying glasses etc. in rooms and common areas.
- Plenty of books on tape, large print books, Braille readers and closed circuit televisions, and magnifying reading machines.
- Dining and common areas set up to be blind-friendly with escort service available.
- Assisted living care and activities focused on the daily needs of vision impaired seniors including engaging events and inclusive activities.
- Established support groups and resources for residents and their families coping with vision loss.
Once you have found some potential options that will meet your loved one’s needs, you’ll need to begin considering the costs of care and payment options.
The Average Costs of Elder Blind Care & Payment Options
How Much Does Blind Senior Assisted Living Cost?
Depending on the specific type of assisted living or in-home caregiving situation you prefer to pursue, costs will vary widely based on geographic location, the level of luxury and amenities desired and whether the facility specializes sole in seniors with vision issues. Here are the national averages from 2017 for the most common types of blind assisted living services.
Blind Assisted Living Facilities—$49,500
Blind Independent Living Communities—$47,2500
Blind Skilled Nursing Centers—$85,855
Hospice Care for the Blind—$33,500
Adult Day Care for Visually Challenged Seniors—$22,750
Home Health Aides/Personal Home Care Aides—$47,550
Options for Paying for Blind Senior Living Expenses
There are a number of options concerning payment methods for blind or vision related senior living facilities including:
- Heath Insurance—While long term care insurance is designed to cover the bulk of expenses, certain health policies may cover certain senior living costs.
- Medicare—Basic coverage covers only medical expenses for seniors receiving care, but additional benefits may be available through the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
- Social Security—Additional benefits through Optional State Supplements (OSS) can provide qualified families with financial assistance for blind elder care.
- Medicaid—Those who qualify may receive assistance for expenses related to in-home and full time assisted living.
- Veterans Assistance—Veterans with vision problems who qualify for certain coverage may receive full or partial assistance for senior living costs and often have options to stay in group home settings or at home.
- Self-Payment—Selling a home, cashing out retirement accounts and dipping into savings are common options for those who have exhausted other national, state and local resources for assistance.