Patsy Southwell, Macular Society counsellor
I’ve been a counsellor for people with sight loss for over 10 years. One topic that comes up quite often is moving house to be nearer to family - usually at the suggestion of grown-up children, who are naturally concerned about how their parent will cope.
When a sight problem is diagnosed, many people are alarmed and upset. I think this is when the suggestion to move closer to the family can seem an appealing way to deal with feeling vulnerable. However there are a few important considerations to make before you decide what’s best for you.
- Navigating your home
In your home you know where everything is, and can locate what you want easily. Moving to a new place means re-learning all this, which can be a challenge with sight loss.
- Your support network
Research shows that for older people, more support comes from friends than from family. It’s not that family don’t care, but as many people tell me, they are usually at the busiest stage of their own lives, and so have a lot less free time than friends who are retired.
- Familiar habits and medical care
Over the years you’ll probably have found local groups and activities you enjoy - you know how to get there, and you know the people there. You’ll also have a familiar GP, optician and ophthalmologist. These services can differ a lot between areas, and it often takes time and energy to sort this out in a new location.
- Feeling self-sufficient
For some people it is a pleasure to know and trust a local shop where they know you. It is not always so easy to develop all these links when you are older and sight impaired.
- Take your time
Try not to make a snap decision – speaking to family and friends, advisers, and even a counsellor can help you work out what’s best for you.
Looking for advice or support dealing with sight loss? Call our Helpline on 0300 3030 111 between 9 and 5, Monday to Friday.