SPD Provides Home Therapy for Seniors with Low Vision | SPD - Singapore

SPD Provides Home Therapy for Seniors with Low Vision

08/06/2018

*This article was updated on 12 July 2018.

SPD has started providing home therapy for seniors with low vision under the Senior Eye Rehabilitation (SEER) Programme since January this year.

The SEER pilot programme is a partnership by Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and Temasek Foundation Cares to build community capability in low vision rehabilitation for seniors. Two occupational therapists (OTs) from SPD were trained to provide home rehabilitation for seniors with low vision.

"The training included clinic and home-based observational sessions with the hospital OTs which allows me to understand the transition of client care at home. I am able to better identify the challenges seniors face and to help them in their home environment in the community setting,” said Ms. Ong Yu Yuan, one of the OTs who underwent the training.

The programme aims to enable seniors with low vision to function safely and independently in their homes. The OTs may prescribe adaptive equipment, recommend strategies, or modify tasks to optimise the safety and independence of the seniors within his/her home environment.

Using magnifying devices is one of the many ways visual challenges can be overcome.

A senior in his 70s, who was diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes resulting in blurred and reduced vision, is one such beneficiary. The OT worked with him to help make his home environment safer for him to move around. He was taught to organise his belongings and place frequently used items within reach. He changed his chair to a red one for better contrast as he almost fell on one occasion when sitting down on a white chair. He was also taught how to send short messages on his mobile phone to his family after the OT enlarged the text size. The OT also assisted to organise his home screen, changed his wallpaper to a plain black background and set up short cut icons so that he could see and access the functions more easily.

Placing kitchen items in a neat and orderly manner, coupled with a neat tablecloth help to aid seniors who are visuallly impaired.

Another beneficiary is a senior in her 50s who has low vision since birth. The OT assessed how the senior cooks on the gas stove as she sometimes gets hurt by accident when cooking. The senior was advised to use gloves to protect herself against the heat and cook in smaller quantities to prevent spillage. As the senior has difficulty seeing and gathering the dust on the ground when sweeping, the OT advised her to use a wiper mop instead. She was able to maintain her home cleanliness more efficiently after the home rehabilitation sessions.

This pilot programme will run until December 2018 and is currently open to seniors who are 50 years old and above. Seniors following-up with the ophthalmology department (eye specialists) at National University Hospital (NUH) or Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) can enquire about the programme through their doctors. Other seniors and caregivers may enquire through seer@aic.sg or call the Singapore Silver Line at 1800-650-6060 for more information.