Today, 6.5 million Americans over age 65 have a severe visual impairment. Experts predict that by 2030, rates of severe vision loss will double among the country’s aging population.
The risk of low vision and blindness increases significantly with age, particularly in those over age 65.
Macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts have a combined impact on 15% of those over the age of 80. 10% of people by the age of 80 are impacted by macular degeneration alone.
As baby boomers age our society is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of patients who need additional support when they leave the hospital. Solutions in Low Vision helps improve the resources necessary to provide that support for this growing area of need.
Legislation driving our programs:
In 2014 the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act was passed, which has led to changes in nursing homes and home health agencies in the way their performance is measured. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rate post-acute care providers in order to help patients to better determine which facility or agency has the best outcomes, thereby potentially improving the expected level of care.
Patients with low vision often experience poor outcomes when they leave the hospital. They can be expected to have:
- An increased risk of falls and fractures, making it more likely the person will be admitted to a hospital or nursing home, become disabled or die prematurely.
- An increased risk of depression. Older adults with low vision are 31% more likely to suffer from the effects of depression.
- Difficulty identifying medications, which can lead to drug-related errors that affect their health. Medicines have become the fifth leading cause of death among seniors. Forty percent of seniors take five or more prescription drugs a week, and 12% take more than 10.
- Difficulty bathing, dressing, and walking around the house. Approximately 1.8 million elderly in this country (not living in nursing homes) report some difficulty with the above activities.
As a result of these outcomes, the CMS has added the area of mobility to their ratings system.
Mobility means the support necessary to help aging Americans as they navigate within their environment-through the use of walkers, or other supportive equipment, e.g.
Solutions in Low Vision provides the training and support that post-acute care providers need as they encounter an increased number of patients with mobility issues as they age.