20 Activities for the Visually Impaired

20 Activities for the Visually Impaired

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People with vision impairment will often require help with every day tasks they could once complete on their own. They may also require support to enable them to stay in touch with the community, friends and their leisure pursuits.
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People with vision impairment will often require help with every day tasks they could once complete on their own. They may also require support to enable them to stay in touch with the community, friends and their leisure pursuits.

Age-related vision loss is common as we grow older and can often be corrected with spectacles, eye drops, surgery and other medications. Some eye conditions however, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and other diseases may evolve into blindness or partial-blindness presenting considerable challenges to those affected.

Most people with disabilities wish to be as independent as possible.

Barriers confronting people with vision impairment:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Diminished mobility (to avoid falling)
  • Increased loneliness
  • Social exclusion (many public places such as cinemas, restaurants, theaters etc are not easily accessible)
  • Feelings of being 'a burden'.
  • Lack of knowledge of services available to them
  • Poverty

Tips for communicating with visually impaired people

  • Don't talk too loud.
  • Use normal language; there's no need to avoid words such as "look", "see".
  • Don't point or say 'over there'. Be specific "It is on the bed to your left".
  • Identify yourself as you enter: "Hi Mavis, it's Linda".
  • It is acceptable to describe colours, patterns and shapes.
  • Don't patronize them. Don't assume you have to make things 'easy' for them.
  • Check if help is required and ask the person for instructions on how to help.
  • Don't channel the conversation through a third person.
  • When walking with them describe the terrain; steps, carpet.
  • Always respect the person's individuality, dignity and independence.

20 Activities for Vision Impaired People

1. Read Aloud

Find out what sort of books they like and read to them.

2. Talking Books

Borrow 'Talking Books' from your local library.

3. Share Jokes

Amuse each other with jokes.

Related: Jokes to Share

4. Tactile Games

Play tactile Dominos or Tic-Tac-Toe.

5. Go out for coffee

Take them to a coffee shop once a week for exercise and sensory stimulation.

6. Air Dry Clay

Encourage them to work with air dry clay; use moulds or create a special memento.

Related: Air Dry Clay Activities

7. Join a Social Group

Invite your client to join a group of other vision impaired people for support and socialization.

8. Find a volunteer

Seek out a volunteer for regular visits and companionship.

9. Pet Therapy

Find out what sort of pets they like and invite someone with docile pets to visit.

Related: Pet Therapy in Nursing Homes

10. Gentle Exercise

Aqua aerobics or yoga with clear verbal instructions is popular for fitness and pleasure.

Related: Gentle Chair Exercises

11. Listen to the Radio

Local radio is a source of exciting and interesting programs. Search for:

  • Talk back
  • Science programs
  • Book Reading
  • Spiritual broadcasts
  • Music

Related: Free music playlists for the elderly

12. Gardening

Buy a couple of pots, potting mixture and some herb seeds; parsley, basil, thyme. Caring for plants is very therapeutic.

13. Make a Salad

Supervise them as they prepare themselves a fruit or vegetable salad.

  • For fruits: Buy soft fruit such as bananas, kiwi fruit and grapes. Serve the fruit salad with ice cream.
  • For vegetables: Buy zucchinis, green beans, asparagus, and carrots. Ask them to peel and chop the vegetables and then cook for them in a microwave for 4-5 minutes on high.

Related: How to Start a Garden Club for Seniors

14. Enjoy Trivia Games

Share quizzes, word games and riddles from Golden Carers.

Related: Quizzes to Share

15. Go for a walk

A walk in the park with a partner for the sights and sounds of nature.

16. Go fishing!

Find a safe pontoon in your local city for safe fishing. Outdoor sports are good for the body and mind.

17. Create a Bird Sanctuary

Engage clients to help create a bird sanctuary in your backyard.

Related: How to create a backyard bird habitat

18. Visit some children

Ring your local nursery school and enquire whether you can take a client for a visit. The laughter and voices of children can lift the spirits.

19. Decorate Cookies

Engage and assist your client to decorate cookies; place icing on one cookie and top with another cookie.

20. Cook Something

Cook something together; the client can break eggs into a bowl, measure sugar and flour, stir. Cooking together provides the opportunity for wonderful conversations & sensory stimulation.

Related: Cooking with the Elderly: Recipes to try

Books to Support and Inspire the Vision Impaired

For clients that still have some vision, buy good magnifying glasses. Otherwise borrow 'Talking Books' or seek volunteers to read aloud twice a week for 30 minutes.

  • Touching the Rock: An experience of Blindness - by John M. Hull
    Autobiography; instructive and profoundly touching.

  • The Island of the Colour Blind - by Oliver Sacks
    The story of the small Pacific atoll of Pingelap where a congenital mishap led to most of the island's inhabitants being color blind.

  • Nightwatch - by Errol Broome
    Little girl Chippy attends the local school. Her heightened awareness of sound, smell, and space uncovers foul play. .

  • The Country of the Blind - by H. G. Wells
    A mountaineer named Nunez slips and falls into a valley cut-off from the rest of the world where inhabitants are all blind.
  • If You Could See what I Hear - by Tom Sullivan
    Blind from birth, Tom tells you stories that will make you laugh out loud..

  • Stars Come Out Within - by Jean Little
    Autobiography of Canadian children's author Jean Little, blind since birth..

  • A Dolphin in the Bay - by Diana Noonan
    A young boy's relationship with a dolphin helps him overcome his fears.

What activities have you found to work well for visually impaired clients?

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Comments   Post a Comment

Brian 8th May 2019
I am going blind. I am already considered legally blind. Being bored is a problem as i can not leave my house much unless someone is with me. I would suggest getting your loved ones out to walk. Take them places to buy things they need. Take them out to eat. Losing my independence has been the toughest part. I have to rely on everyone around me and often feel like a burden. I also struggle with the fact that i am no longer contributing to society. And my home has began to feel like a prison. My advice to you is to get them out make them feel useful and reasure them you enjoy their wisdom and company. Because i know my wisdom is about all i have left.
Talita 10th May 2019
Thank you for your feedback and insight Brian. These are wonderful words of wisdom and advice, thank you for sharing. All the very best to you.
mary holmes 9th May 2018
Hi What can I introduce to a young lady of 26 She has a day service which she enjoys but there are times she can get very cross I know she is frustrated and very stressed I do relaxation secession every night with her and she really enjoys it It took a long time to get to where I am at with her Now I want to move on with other act ivies I really would a predicate any help u can give I work with this girl and she is very clever and is capable of going much more Regards Mary
Joanne Barrington 18th Mar 2018
My heart is broken. My mom, is now 100% blind. B4 she had some sight and we purchased her a special computer for impaired sight. It was wonderful and she got a lot of use out of it. But, now, she is can't see anything on it. Playing her games, listening to TV is her pass time.
She has never been a reader, so that's out. Does anyone know of any tactile activities besides clay that she can do while sitting in her chair.
The blind just don't shirvel up an nonexist, they live on like sighted people! There has to be home activities she can do! Help please!!!!
Solange 19th Mar 2018 Diversional Therapist
Hi Joanne, how sad your mother losing her vision. I am sorry. Here are a few things she could do according to her wishes. I hope it can help.

Braile Rubik
Voice recorder
Talking Dart Board
Voice Watch
Making lavender pillows (for self or gifts)
Unravel wool sweater for someone's else to knit
Nimah 2nd Feb 2018
I am looking for an activity for music therapy with visual impairment for young adults without using instruments.
Keren Rice 6th Aug 2017
I am looking for any art or craft suggestions for a client of mine that is almost totally blind.
He is 65 years old. Any suggestions would be great. Thank You

Keren Rice
Solange 7th Aug 2017 Diversional Therapist
Hi Karen, one activity I have experienced with blind people was clay moulding. We used to buy air drying clay and other moulding material and encouraged a group of six vision deficient clients to make it into whatever they wanted. You would be surprised with the things they come up with. When I left one of the group made me a jewellery container (without lid) which is one of my prized possessions. Cheers.
Alexandra 8th Aug 2014 Lifestyle Coordinator
One of our vision impaired residents loves a visit from our pet budgie that we keep inside in a cage.
We place the cage by her bedroom window when she's in there and he chirps away. She enjoys listening to him and feeling responsible for him for the day.
Scott 28th May 2014 Activities officer
Hi as an Activities Officer with a vision impairment, I found the article interesting. Lack of confidence in older persons is common. Resources and equipment is available through qba.asn.au and also Vision Australia for equipment. Encouraging and maintaining independence is important. An example is using a telephone, most phones have a raised dot on the number 5. Large print Bingo and flash cards are also useful.
Regards Scott
Shirley 25th Mar 2014 Recreation Officer
thank you for these suggestions they will be very useful - Shirley NSW
Lifestyle 25th Mar 2014 Lifestyle Coordinator
How do you deal with a vision impaired residents who states things are going missing when they are not??
Faye 25th Mar 2014 Activities Assistant Team Leader
We do a lot of word maker Quiz's with the nine squares, using each letter once four words or more,must use middle letter in each word. One nine letter word. We do these on the white board. My idea for visually impaired so they can join in as well is a nine square wooden grid to place the letters in. The letters of the alphabert to be made similar to scrabble board letters indented and place them infront of the visually impaired person so they can feel the letters and join in the fun.
Shantell 25th Mar 2014 Lifestyle CoOrdinator
Hi. We made a Bingo card for a vision Impaired resident. It was on a Timber board with a small lip, we used elastic to mark the squares, threaded through the edge lip of the board and all the numbers were raised. She eventually remembered the numbers she had, but it was fantastic.
helen 24th Mar 2014 Diversional therapist
Ther is no reason why a vision impaired resident can't be involved in playing carpet bowls, all you need is to have the area quiet at the time the resident is bowling and ring a bell in the direction of the bowl. I have a resident who came runner up in the competition.
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