The Eyes Have It

Mother at the Eye Doctor for Glasses

Mother at the Eye Doctor for Glasses

One of the things that all caretakers have to deal with are vision changes. It all starts around 40 when eyes begin to lose elasticity making it difficult to read books and newspapers. This loss of elasticity makes the eyes have changes in vision all through the day. You will often need 2 or 3 pairs of glasses for long distance vision, computer distance, and book/newspaper distance.  As you enter your 60s it becomes necessary to find a different eye doctor than you will find at a neighborhood glass shop.

With this in mind my mother had to progress to the Emory Eye Clinic doctors for glasses. She had already been receiving eye shots for macular degeneration from a macular specialist and glaucoma treatment, (eye drops), from a glaucoma specialist. All of those problems created changing vision and a loss of vision in the left eye that were making it hard for her to keep her lifestyle.

We had to change to more advanced treatment than available from the local eye-glass store.  We made visited a specialist who then recommended the Low Vision doctors at Emory. We had already changed the light bulbs to ‘Daylight’ LED bulbs as recommended by her macular degeneration doctor. These bulbs really helped because they have high contrast.

What we are trying to do is make sure that she can live her life as close to normal as possible. Make sure you stay on top of the vision issue because there are treatments and special equipment that can keep their QOL (Quality of Life) excellent.

  1. Low Vision Information
  2. Vision and the Elderly – WebMD
  3. Vision Issues in Aging – CDC

A Really Great Report from NP (Neuropsychological) Testing

We recently changed my 89 year old mother’s General Practitioner to a Geriatric GP. Her improvement waBrains instantaneous. My mother walked around telling everyone that she felt incredible and did not know why. I was puzzled too as the only thing that her new GP did was take her off most nutritional supplements and the one-a-day vitamins she was taking. It turns out that one-a-day vitamins and supplements are not good for older people. Who knew? Older people need a special doctor just like children need a pediatrician.

The other recommendation was for Neuropsychological testing. My mother immediately said “NO WAY!”.  She equated the psychological part or the name with her being considered crazy or some other name people give to older persons. After a lot of back and forth she relented and endured the three hours of testing.  Two weeks later we got the results, no dementia and no Alzheimer’s only some ‘cognitive decline’.  Needless to say my mother was walking on air with the diagnoses  as she had expected to hear something else.

What the diagnoses meant was that she was responsible for her well being.  The doctor could now take steps to keep her active and they suggested volunteering, exercise, and diet changes to get her weight down.  It is now important for her to stay engaged in the community to keep her mind going.  She was older but not incapable so get out there and stay involved.

UNC – What is a neuropsychological evaluation?

Wikipedia – Neuropsychological test

Medscape – Neuropsychological Evaluation



Mother Got The Time Wrong

The Sunset Years

The Sunset Years Can be Stunning and Beautiful

It was Monday morning and I was rushing to pickup my mother for her physical therapy. Of course everything was going wrong. My left from tire was almost flat and I barely made it to a gas station to fill the tire. I called to tell her I was a little late but would have her there by 11:00am.

It is important to call when you are late to make sure that anxiety, which is already running high does not approach a crisis level.

I was on the highway when mother called me. “Physical therapy just called and wanted to know why I wasn’t there at 10:00am. They said they usually charge $35 for missed appointments but would not charge this time. I mixed up the time. I wrote it on my calendar but never checked to make sure.”

I felt terrible for my mother. I knew that I should have checked myself but the physical therapy office refused to send her off with any paperwork for me to look over. They did not have a helpful procedure for older patients and were resentful to have to do any more than necessary.

From now on I will be better at keeping track but this is an ongoing issue that I am not sure has a good resolution.

Old Age from Wikipedia

Clocks for the Elderly from Amazon

Cooking All Bran Muffins

All Bran Muffins

Stay Involved by Cooking

The more active you keep your parents the better they feel. My mother (she is now 88) was always a sometimes cook. When it appealed to her she would make a big dinner for her 8 children. When she first moved in with me she would buy frozen dinners to eat. They were full of salt and empty of nutrition.

Yes I take her to Walmart or Publix or whichever supermarket she wants and have her do her own shopping. This really makes her feel good because I drop her off and leave her alone to shop. She call when she gets to checkout and I return to pick her up. Today she decided to make vegan bran muffins for her grand-daughter Iris. She prepared her list of ingredients and I dropped her off at Walmart to shop. 30 minutes later I picked her up and her excitement was obvious. She was also concerned that she could not do it.

Recipe for 12 All Bran Muffins

  1. Prepare muffin tin with butter or paper liners
  2. Set oven shelf so top of muffins would be centered vertically
  3. Preheat Oven to 400°  F
  4. Soak ½ cup W\white raisins, ½ cup dried cranberries in 1 cup water and set aside
  5. Place 1 cup All-Bran, 1 cup buttermilk, ½ cup yoghurt, and ½ cup sweet milk into mixing bowl
  6. Beat 2 Eggs and ½ cup canola oil and fold into All Bran mixing bowl
  7. Add: ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup white sugar granulated, 1 ½ cup flour,  ½ tsp baking soda, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 ½ tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp vanilla to mixture
  8. Drain and discard water off dried fruits from step 4 above and blend into All-Bran mixture
  9. Add ½ c chopped toasted walnuts (Optional)
  10. Fill muffin pan cups 2/3+ full
  11. Bake 20 minutes
  12. Reduce heat to 350
  13. Continues baking until knife point inserted in center of a muffin is dry

When done remove from oven to a wire rack to cool. You can serve warm or store in air tight container in refrigerator or freezer.


It is important to note that this is not a simple recipe but at 88 years of age she was able to successfully make these tasty muffins. Remember they are old but not incapable of doing things. You just need to encourage them and help wherever necessary.

A Few Easy and Delicious Recipes for the Elderly

Recipes for the Elderly from

Physical Therapy Wanted a Picture ID


I need this face on a government card.

Last Monday I took my mother to physical therapy. I have been in a constant battle to keep her active and strong so I was really pleased when she told me she was going. Of course it was not from my suggesting (nagging) her for the last 5 years. Her hearing aid had broken and when she went to see about a new one the person there told her she needed physical therapy so that her balance would be better and so would her hearing.

I want to give that audiologist a present because my mother finally was going to see about strengthening her legs. We arrived at the office only to be told that they needed a picture ID to work with her and for insurance verification. My mother has not driven for years and Atlanta is safer for it so she only has a passport and it has the wrong address. I of course wanted to know who would be stealing physical therapy for an 88 year old. They finally accepted her as who she is without a picture ID.

And so began the next adventure to get a legal picture ID for her. What I discovered was that every state’s motor vehicle department has an option to provide a legal picture ID.  I have listed a few links that will get you to your states Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

  1. DMV.ORG – “The DMV Made Simple”
  2. DMV.List – State DMV List, vehicle registration list
  3. – Your advisor for DMV Issues

Make sure you look for IDs on the site.