Nan Ahern’s caregiving service specializes in helping people who have vision problems and points out the areas where seniors need the most help.
The idea of having a personal assistant would be manna from heaven among most harried caregivers. How wonderful it would be to have someone help with the grocery shopping, paying the bills, finding just the right holiday gifts and all the other things that might be a pleasure—if only we had the time! Put yourself in the shoes of a person with low vision, and this service becomes a necessity.
While there are many personal assistants available, few are as specialized as Nan Ahern. Nan has worked for Manhattan socialites and celebrities, helping them organize everything from cocktail parties to closets. She has also volunteered for Lighthouse for the Blind for eight years, reading to the blind, recording books on tape.
Now Nan offers her special skills as help for vision-impaired clients. As people get older, vision impairments such as macular degeneration can become more common, and the consequences of poor vision impact quality of life. Vision problems can lead to difficulties in many areas of daily living. "Sometimes the sons and daughters lose patience; they don't want to deal with parental needs," Nan observes.
Nan has developed a specialized service that will help in these activities of daily living:
While all of this care is critical for an elder's wellbeing, there's another crucial aspect to Nan's work: she believes this trusting relationship demands the utmost patience, diplomacy and discretion. Further, she adds, "You want to make them feel they are maintaining a certain amount of independence." Organizing things so they can find them without help facilitates a sense of independence.
Nan does not advertise her service; rather, she relies on word of mouth. "Would you look at an ad at the grocery store for someone to help your mother?" she asked. "This is a trusting, intimate situation. It takes sensitivity."
It also takes maturity. "You wouldn't find a lot of 25-year-olds who could do this," she noted.