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Individuals facing vision impairment will often require help with everyday tasks that were once easily managed independently. They may also require support to maintain their connections with the community, friends, and leisure pursuits.
Age-related vision loss is a common experience, and empowering individuals to maintain their independence to the fullest extent possible is crucial.
Challenges faced by individuals with vision impairment:
- Lack of confidence
- Reduced mobility (to prevent falls)
- Heightened loneliness
- Social exclusion (limited accessibility in public places like cinemas, restaurants etc.)
- Feelings of being a 'burden'
- Limited awareness of available support services
- Financial constraints (poverty)
Tips for Communicating with Visually Impaired Individuals
- Speak in a normal tone; avoid speaking too loudly.
- Use everyday language, including words like 'look' and 'see.'
- Provide specific directions instead of vague references.
- Clearly identify yourself upon entering their presence: "Hi Mavis, it's Linda".
- Describe visual details when necessary.
- Avoid patronizing language; don't assume you have to make things 'easy' for them.
- Check if help is required and ask them for instructions on how to help.
- Speak directly to the person, don't channel the conversation through a third person.
- When walking with them describe the terrain; steps, carpet etc.
- Always respect their individuality and independence."
20 Activities for People with Vision Impairment:
- Read Aloud: Discover their literary preferences and read to them.
- Talking Books: Borrow audiobooks from the local library.
- Share Jokes: Engage in light-hearted humor to lift their spirits.
- Tactile Games: Play tactile games like Dominos or Tic-Tac-Toe.
- Coffee Outings: Take them to a coffee shop weekly for exercise and sensory stimulation.
- Air Dry Clay: Encourage them to work with air dry clay for creative expression.
- Social Group: Invite them to join a group of visually impaired peers for support and socialization.
- Volunteer Companionship: Seek volunteers for regular visits and companionship.
- Pet Therapy: Arrange visits from docile pets, according to their preferences.
Related: Pet Therapy in Nursing Homes
- Gentle Exercise: Consider activities like yoga or tai chi with clear verbal instructions.
Related: Gentle Chair Exercises
- Listen to the Radio: Explore local radio programs, including talk shows, science, book readings, spiritual broadcasts, and music.
Related: Free music playlists for the elderly
- Gardening: Buy a couple of pots, potting mixture and some herb seeds; parsley, basil, thyme. Caring for plants is very therapeutic.
Related: How to Start a Garden Club for Seniors
- Cooking Together: Collaborate in preparing salads, fruits, or vegetables, allowing for conversations and sensory stimulation.
- Trivia Games: Share quizzes, word games, and riddles for mental stimulation.
Related: Quizzes Galore
- Nature Walks: Enjoy walks in the park to experience the sights and sounds of nature.
- Fishing: Find safe locations for outdoor activities like fishing. Outdoor pursuits are good for the mind and body.
- Children's Visits: Organize trips to local nursery schools or invite them to your facility. The presence of children's laughter and voices can brighten spirits.
- Aromatherapy Sessions: Offer workshops where they can explore various scents and essential oils, enhancing relaxation and sensory experiences.
- Listen to Podcasts: Introduce them to podcasts covering a range of topics, enabling them to stay informed and entertained through auditory content.
- Birdwatching: Create a backyard bird habitat with bird feeders and water, allowing them to enjoy the sounds and interactions of local birds.
6 Empowering Reads for the Vision-Impaired
For clients with some remaining vision, provide high-quality magnifying glasses. Alternatively, explore 'Talking Books' or recruit volunteers to read aloud for 30 minutes twice a week.
- "Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness" by John M. Hull
This autobiography offers instructive and deeply moving insights into the author's experience of blindness.
- "The Island of the Colour Blind" by Oliver Sacks
Delve into the intriguing story of the Pacific atoll of Pingelap, where a genetic anomaly has resulted in most of the inhabitants being color blind.
- "Nightwatch" by Errol Broome
Follow the adventures of a young girl, Chippy, as she attends the local school. Her heightened awareness of sound, smell, and space leads to the discovery of foul play.
- "The Country of the Blind" by H. G. Wells
Join Nunez, a mountaineer who slips and falls into a secluded valley where all the inhabitants are blind, in this captivating tale.
- "If You Could See What I Hear" by Tom Sullivan
Tom Sullivan, blind from birth, shares stories that will leave you laughing out loud, offering a unique perspective on life.
- "Stars Come Out Within" by Jean Little
Explore the autobiography of Jean Little, a Canadian children's author who has been blind since birth, as she recounts her life experiences.
- "A Dolphin in the Bay" by Diana Noonan
Follow the heartwarming story of a young boy whose relationship with a dolphin helps him conquer his fears and find courage.
What activities have you found to work well for visually impaired individuals?