Becoming blind or visually impaired is never easy, but it is especially difficult when it happens to an elderly person.
The majority of blind and visually impaired people experience vision loss after age 55, usually because of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetes, glaucoma, or retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
When a person begins to lose vision, even the smallest things become major chores, seemingly impossible to achieve. It's sometimes hard to figure out how to handle little everyday tasks because the person is so used to depending on sight for information. Now, all of a sudden, he has to gather information from the world by touch, smell, or hearing. He has to communicate in ways that don't require sight.
Let's explore a few quick tips that can make the adjustment to blindness or visual impairment a little easier and less frustrating:
(1) "What time is it?" The person who cannot see the clock or watch asks this question over and over. Time is important. If he can't see the clock, and he doesn't know what time it is, he can be frustrated and even depressed.
What to Do: Talking watches and clocks are very inexpensive. They are sometimes sold in retail stores, but a better selection is available from low-vision specialty stores (operated by state or private agencies for the blind in some localities), or from mail-order companies that specialize in products for the blind. Clocks and watches with raised dots and/or large numbers are also available. Click on the Products link at the end of this article for more information.
(2) Hello, hello: Calling a friend or the doctor may become a very big problem. Many people, especially diabetics who often have an impaired sense of touch, have a very hard time learning to dial the telephone without looking at the numbers.
What to Do: Look for a big-button telephone. Wal-mart, Radio Shack and similar companies may have just what you need. You'll also find big-button phones with large contrasting numbers. No matter what phone you buy, it will be easier to use if there is a raised dot on the 5. Click the Products link below for places to find big-button phones.
Have questions? Email me and ask away. Remember: the only bad question is the question no one asks.
Click here to locate mail-order companies that sell products for people who are blind or visually impaired and offer catalogs and on-line ordering.