Living with Macular Degeneration: Is Assisted Living an Option?

Posted by: Maryellen McKeon, Senior Vice President of Operations

Macular DegenerationDear Maryellen,

My 84 year old father lives alone in Woodcliff, New Jersey. He has a large, older home with a lot of stairs. A few years ago he was diagnosed with macular degeneration. Since that time he has been slowly losing his vision. I have just begun to explore senior housing options for him. I would like to have him be able to make the move and get settled in while he still has some of his vision remaining. My question for you is this: how can assisted living support someone with a vision impairment and would it be a viable option for him to consider?   – David

Dear David,

This is a great question for us to be able to share with other families! Thank you for asking it. A number of the older adults that we work with have vision problems ranging from cataracts and glaucoma to macular degeneration. Many of our new residents who have vision impairments when they move in find their lives are more comfortable in assisted living for a variety of reasons.

Each of our communities has safety features that make it easier for residents with vision problems to find their way around. Examples include handrails in hallways and grab bars in bathrooms. We can also provide assistance with bathing, grooming, dressing and escorting around the community. Our life enrichment programs include activities designed to allow people with eyesight issues to participate. Because of all of this support, an assisted living community can help residents with macular degeneration enjoy a higher quality of life.

I hope this helps, David! Best wishes as you explore your options for senior housing for your father. I’m sure your proactive approach will help him make a smooth transition to his new home.

Best Regards,

Posted by:

Over the course of more than thirty years, Maryellen has distinguished herself in the field of Assisted Living, and has maintained a particular focus on enhancing operations in Independent and Enriched Housing Management. At times, Maryellen has simultaneously overseen over 29 communities throughout the Northeast. She was awarded Administrator of the Year in 1990 by the Empire State Association – being recognized for upholding quality care, compassion and high professional standards – and has become a visible and respected authority in the field. Throughout her tenure with the Association, she has also co-chaired its Assisted Living Services Committee along with its Conference Committee. Maryellen joined Engel Burman in 2001 and helped establish Ultimate Care NY, LLC, the team responsible for the development, construction and daily management of twelve upscale Assisted Living communities grouped under the well-known and highly respected name of The Bristal. A committed advocate and sought after speaker for the cause of senior living issues, Maryellen has served on the Board of ESAAL (Empire State Association of Assisted Living) since 2002, and today, she continues to play high-profile roles in many of the Association’s most important initiatives and influential committees.