Tips for Overcoming Vision Decline in Sales & Service Situations

Communications with prospects, community residents and their adult children will be more effective if your associates are more knowledgeable and sensitive to the physical changes occurring in the aging process, especially those involving vision decline.

Vision decline occurring with people of age is one of the most obvious signs of aging. Nearly 90 percent of people over age 60 require vision correction of one kind or another. Many wear corrective lens, reading glasses or bifocals. Some have undergone cataract surgery to improve their ability to see. Still, there is progressive decline.

How does your staff recognize and deal with vision decline of an older resident? Among the signs to be observed are squinting to see near-by objects or small type. Increased frowning is another noticeable sign. Grimacing is another. So is increased physical concentration and the resulting tightening of body muscles.

It’s helpful to understand that the physical aging process doesn’t follow a pattern for Boomers, and older adults. Aging is a very individualized process. We all experience some level of continuing loss of the five senses – seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smell. And these affect each of us differently. Your sales associates need to be aware of the more important physical changes affecting a Boomer’s ability to comprehend and respond to sales and service communications.

Each of us is born with a specific level of visual functional capacity, encompassing all attributes of vision -- distance, depth perception, peripheral vision. Different individuals start out at different levels. We begin to lose some percentage of our vision as early as our early 20s. With the process of aging, the eye begins to change. Eyelids become thicker and heavier which reduces the ability to focus on near objects. The lens becomes more yellowish with time and images take on a different hue.

By our mid-40s, we have lost 50% of the vision we were born with. By age 60, the average person has less than 25% of that original functional capacity. Decline continues throughout the rest of life.

What are the sales and service situations affected by vision decline? These include face –to-face meetings where the person is unable to pick up visual cues; public presentations, such as seminars; sales and service calls where printed materials are used and presentations using a computer or other devices.

What are the keys to overcoming vision decline issues:

  • Conduct conversations in a well-lit area.
  • Sit close to the person, facing him or her. Remember the person may be lip-reading.
  • Increase the use of gestures when speaking to re-enforce points.
  • Minimize unnecessary quick movements

When it involves written or printed material, use larger typefaces (12- to 14-point type); avoid using lighter type such as italics; keep sentence length around 15-20 words, and create new paragraphs every four to five lines to create more space making it easier to read.