Holiday Advice for Caregivers of a Parent with an Eye Disease

If you are a caregiver of a parent with an eye disease, the holidays can seem overwhelming. You may be juggling a full schedule of activities for yourself as well as your parent’s social schedule. Your parent’s particular eye disease may affect when and how often he or she can drive, if at all. For example, a parent with cataracts may be able to drive during the day, but not at night. In the case of macular degeneration or glaucoma, however, it may no longer be safe for your parent to operate a vehicle at all.

December 4-8, 2017 is National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. It is important that elderly loved ones remain active in the community and that transportation challenges do not prevent them from participating in meaningful work and recreation. There is no denying that there are physical, mental and sensory changes that accompany aging, and driving is one of the first activities affected by these changes. One of the aims of National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is to create awareness of safe travel options for
all people who wish to work, volunteer and move about the community.

Whether your parent has glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy or another eye disease that limits driving, you may feel overwhelmed as a caregiver, especially during the holidays. How can you get everything done and still keep your sanity? In honor of National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, here are some tips to help you coordinate holiday schedules:

1. Print out a weekly activity calendar for your parent. Use different colors to designate various activities. For each activity, include the time you will arrive at your parent’s home to provide transportation.

2. Ask your parent to prioritize events. Depending on the number of events during the holidays, your parent may need to prioritize activities in order of importance. Tell your parent you will try to provide transportation to the most important ones.

3. Ask for help. December is one of the busiest months of the year. Even if you do all the driving during other months, you may need to get assistance as the holidays approach. If you have other siblings in town, request their help to do some of the driving. You can also ask a friend or a neighbor.

4. Call Uber. There are many alternative options like Uber, Lyft or Dial-A-Ride that can take your parent to or from an event or appointment. This may be a last resort, but it’s a good solution if you get in a bind.

A little bit of planning can go a long way when it comes to holiday transportation. As a caregiver, you are giving the gift of time. Make sure to give yourself the same gift by creating breaks in your schedule for rest and recuperation.