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 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

Rosemary Brooker 4th Dec 2022
My mum has macular degeneration, sight very poor
also in a lot of pain with her back and shoulders
Mobility is poor and can only go out in a wheelchair but is in to much pain most of the time.
Struggling to help with her pain relief and dinners
Wont have a carer
Any ideas ?
Susan 4th Dec 2022 Activity Director
Hi Rosemarie
What did your mother like to do before? Is there any way you can adapt these things?
What does her doctor suggest for the pain?
I find that people who are busy doing some thing forget about their pain
Can she ride in a car?
I am sure your community has a senior center with many activities. You can go with her and help her.
I find music to be very good
How is her hearing?
If I can be of some more help, let me know
Susan 12th Apr 2022 Activity Director
Hi Felicia
Very resourceful of you
Thank you for sharing
Susan 7th Sep 2021 Activity Director
Hi Linda
Thank you for sharing this information
LINDA 5th Sep 2021
I AM 73 and I am lucky to be involved in blind and visually impaired golf. It is played in 16 countries and there are national Opens as well as a World Championship. Our totally blind players are awesome and we all play to the same rules as sighted players. Each golfer has a guide to indicate aiming direction, find the ball and share in the trophy (it's basically a 2-man sport).
I am always surprised that so few people know blind golf exists. Pros and better golfers are the people less likely to believe you if you know about blind golf. It's because they can't imagine how such a difficult sport could be conquered by a blind or visually impaired person.
Well guess what - it can be!!
Felecia 12th Apr 2022
I have found that macrame or some people call them laced clothes hangers have been a good project. It is easier with @ 1/2" cotton fabric strips. (But some people even use yarn)
I actually found a curtain company that had remnant strips on a roll, but the fabric could be cut or torn to size. They are great for hanging pants or slippery fabric. We did not cover the hook so that the hanger slides well on the closet rod.
Anna b. 6th Jul 2021
Hi I'm anna and I do in home care and I have a new client with macular degeneration and I'm look for activity for her any suggestions I was looking for some brainteasers trivia brainstorming anything in that order ii like those brainteasers where you say different old sayings fir examples no pain, no gain
Margaret Smith 1st Jun 2021
Hi l am the activities coordinator at Madison court a home for people living with dementia. We have a couple of blind residents and some partially sighted residents. All our residents enjoy bingo. Our careers help these residents so that they can join in. We tell them when we mark a number off for them also what colour ticket and pen is being used. They are kept upto date with whatt numbers they need and they shout for their winnings. I was wondering if there are any bingo tickets in braille as this would get them more involved. Thank you for reading xmarg
Susan 2nd Jun 2021 Activity Director
Hi Margaret
There are some places you can buy Braille bingo cards such as Amazon or Walmart
There is also a Braille store that you might want to try
And you can write a letter to any of these places they may want to donate some to you especially if there’s more things you want to buy
I do not know where you are from but the commission for the blind in the US does have some good materials for the blind
You may want to check this out
Danielle 24th May 2021
Hi I take care of my 86 year old grandfather who has glaucoma and now sees through a tunnel vision and has a hard time seeing. He loves cutting up fabric in pieces and recording his favorite radio station, but i have been looking for some new ideas or arts & crafts to do with him because I don't trust him with a scissor. Any ideas I greatly appreciate it
Susan 25th May 2021 Activity Director
Hi Danielle
How wonderful of you to be taking care of your grandfather
One thing I’d like to do was to rip paper to make different things
For example we made leis using a plastic needle with yarn and scrunching up the paper as you put the needle in it
We had a long strips of paper about 2 inches wide and as long as can be handled
You can also make craft with tiny pieces of tissue paper that you paste on a shape made out of card stock
Pieces do not have to be that tiny but scrunch them up to them and paste and put them on shape
Also making a collage is a good idea
Here are some other ideas
crafts with step by step instructions on Golden Carers. You could try Scavenger Collage, Abayomi Rag Dolls, Sand Bottles, Egg Carton Spring Flowers, Mixed Media Collage. These are good to keep or to give away as gifts.
You could get some scissors which are not sharp that some children use in school
They cut
but they’re not dangerous
If He insists on using a scissors
Normah 17th May 2021
Hi - I stumbled on this site while searching for activities for my 22 year old special needs son with multiple disabilities. He is a cerebral palsy person (diagnosed at 1 year old), had stroke at 7 years old due to hemorrhage, became blind after the operation then wheelchair bound after his scoliosis operation. He is now staying home and I'm at a loss as to the type of meaningful activities I could get him involved. I am now looking at making play dough with him. He generally listen to music for most part of the day.

Appreciate any ideas, please. Thank you.
Susan 18th May 2021 Activity Director
Susan 23rd Apr 2021 Activity Director
Hi Tanvi
The most important thing is to make him feel good about himself
Focus on the positive I’m sure there are still things she can do
This article may help you
This one may be helpful also and other music activities
There are many good short stories on the site
For your father for like one of them or make up your own
Tanvi 22nd Apr 2021
Hi Susan,
My father is a retired doctor and he’s 66 years of age. He is suffering from cardive dyskinesia and also has lost vision due to diabetes. This has led him to depression and he barely interacts with us even though he wants to.
Is there anyway you help me help him?
Susan 23rd Feb 2021 Activity Director
Hi Jean
How inspiring
You are a wonderful person
Jean 23rd Feb 2021
I am living in with a 93 year old lady. She lost her sight due to type one diabetes after pancreatic cancer surgery.
She was just sitting doing nothing when I came to live with her. I got her knitting using larger needles 8’s and thicker yarn . Presently she has knit 3 blankets for family members who thought she couldn’t do anything . We also cook and go for walks using her walker. She is so much happier .
Susan 28th Jan 2021 Activity Director
Hi Patty
This seems like a good idea
In fact you can buy a kit to do this
What size fleece do you use??
We did this in a group setting but it could be for an individual as well as you suggest
Patsy 27th Jan 2021
My mother is 95 and is legally blind. One activity I have found that she loves and keeps her occupied is making a fleece blanket with tied knots. I prepare the fabric by cutting the strips around two pieces of fleece and she ties the knots around the outside edges. She makes them for her Great Grandchildren.
Susan 3rd Oct 2020 Activity Director
Thank you for this information Phyllis
Phyllis 2nd Oct 2020
Scanned some of ur comments. Maybe this will be useful for someone.
* In working in various places, I have found that some people like sorting, especially if it is presented as useful. I have had people feel and be useful sorting out the office drawers or trays so that the jumble of paperclips, coins, misplaced pens, tacks, whatever is in the secretary's or nurses' station drawers into organized containers with all of one thing in one plastic container was light work, helpful to resident and staff alike and could be done at a table or on a pull over table by someone in bed.
Oragami can be fairly easily adapted to hand over hand instruction, from simple to complex. The results can be gifts or used in personal area decorations, or to make leis for a Hawaiian themed meal and some background surf or ukelele music.
Believe it or not, some people enjoy returning to finger-painting. Don't worry about pictures. Concentrate on decorative designs on making wrapping paper or paper covers to go on bulletin boards.
Puzzles with larger, thicker, fewer pieces that can be done as much tactually as visually work sometimes. Get the thick ones with 20-30 pieces max. Just don't refer to them or get pictures that are for babies. They need to be interlocking. Making them in a large flat tray with lips around the sides (like a cookie sheet) keeps things corraled.
And, people who like to read but miss it sometimes like to "write" stories too. You can use recording devices to share back and forth. Or help them learn folktales or refine a life experience and have storytelling circles or special times. Developing and practicing their stories to tell also helps with orientation and social skills.

If I've been redundant or useless I apologize. But maybe this will help you see past the can't dos to the do differently places that your hearts and care are leading you to.
Susan 30th Jul 2020 Activity Director
Hi Pearl
Try some of these suggestions
It is best to adapt and modify some thing she used to like to do
Let us know what ideas you come up with
Pearl 30th Jul 2020
Hello, my grandmother is legally blind but can still see a little bit (for example if the text is really big). It’s hard to understand what she’s going through but I want to be there for her and make her experience better. I was wondering what activities, tricks, ways around this, independent tasks etc that anyone recommends that could make things more enjoyable/easier for her?
Donna Wardzynski 28th Jun 2020
i look after my 95 year old mother in-law who is virtually blind due to cataracts she is also almost deaf with hearing aids, mobility poor, becoming institutionalized is there anything i can do to stimulate her?
Susan 29th Jun 2020 Activity Director
Hi Donna
Have you read all the comments here because there are some really good ideas
Is there some thing your mother-in-law liked to do in the past that could be adapted and modified so she could do it now
For example I had a resident who was blind but still could crochet because she had done it all her life she did it but I feel
Obviously this would not work if she never crocheted but maybe there is something else she could do by feel
Someone had suggested clay that she could mold into anything really
If you could help her do handover hand exercises
Start with easier ones just three or four to begin with
There are some really good ideas from Gwyneth

If you need help adapting an activity your mother-in-law liked to do in the past let me know and I will help you with it
Good luck to you and let us know what ideas worked

Tina 2nd Jun 2020
I work in a group home, one of our client is blind and has autism. Iam not a manager. I am just one of the wotker just for the record. Every time I go to work. I come up with i deas to keep her active and smiling assuming that will help her day go fast and fun. This week, I feel like i am running of ideas to keep her active. any idea? but one thing I noticed which I am planning to keep on reapeating is that since she practice a christian religion, she laughs with the Jockes I find on you yube from Joel Osten and making shapes from a play-doh. please email me any new ideas? Thank you so much!!!
Susan 2nd Jun 2020 Activity Director
Hi Tina
It sounds like you are doing a great job
Here are some jokes you might want to try


Here are some spiritual activities you might want to try
Susan 2nd Jun 2020 Activity Director
Hi Tina
I also found this article that might be helpful
Ronda Spickelmire 8th May 2020
My grandson is 9 years old and has a brain tumor that has left him visually impaired. Looking for some crafts and things he can do, he absolutely loves to read, now he can't he loves legos nope can't see them either. It is very hard on all the adults in his life. He is taking it better than we are. He loves science and crafting.
Susan 19th May 2020 Activity Director
Hey Ronda
Kids are adaptable
I do not know where you are from but in the US there is the commission for the blind that is very helpful but it may take a while for them to get to you
If your grandson likes to read there are books on tape and also there are many programs on the Internet for reading books
In fact there are computers and other devices for the blind that use the Internet
Good luck to you
It sounds like your grandson is a real fighter
Elaine 3rd May 2020
My grandma is 85 years old and is losing her vision and her hearing. She has a very weak body and with all that is going on right now, I'm not able to go visit. She doesn't have any technology but I'm trying to find some things that she can do independantly. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Susan 3rd May 2020 Activity Director
Hi Elaine
Make sure you call her every day and remind her to do whatever it is you decide is right for her
You want to know what her past interests were and if you can adapt and modify them to some things she could do
For example you want provide things that are large print such as a large print word search if that something she likes
You could make some for her and mail them to her since you can’t visit any longer
She would appreciate the mail if nothing else
You could also send her large print letters especially ones that are positive to put her in a good frame of mind
You can send her many because I am sure she would like to open them
Send her jokes that you made in large print
Send her short story that you made in large print
Here are some but you may have to retype them so she can see them
Then when you call you can ask her which ones she likes the best and send her more like that
If you tell me what her past interests or perhaps I can help you adapt and modify them
Jason 18th Jan 2020
My client is blind and has autism and Asperger’s. he is 27 years old and very limited to do anything. Doesn’t speak many words and likes to lash out every now and then. Need help on this matter.just some fun things to do
Susan 19th Jan 2020 Activity Director
Hi Jason
Is the client in a group setting or are you working with him individually
Has he had an evaluation by an occupational therapist to see what his strengths and weaknesses are and his likes and dislikes
Have you contacted the commission for the blind they have some good tools you can use
Do you have any budget to buy things for him or does everything have to be donated
I would suggest some headphones maybe you can get some donated and have his favorite songs on the headphones
You could try this sensory activity and see if he likes it
Also think about getting a keyboard or some other type of object where he can press the large buttons
Also maybe some kind of paper folding activity
Also some physical activity is very important
He may be able to run or jump or skip
He could use a large ball
If you need more suggestions let me know
Braille Institute of America, Inc. 9th Dec 2019
This post is all about the activities for the Visually Impaired. People with vision impairment will often require help with everyday tasks they could once complete on their own. Keep sharing!
Teresa 29th Nov 2019
Thank you all for the responses. I have a very dear neighbor that is losing her vision and I was trying to help her find activities for her to do. She has always been very social and outgoing lady. I’m thankful that I’m able to help her
Susan 3rd Sep 2019 Activity Director
Thank you for that information Sharon it will be very helpful
Sharon 3rd Sep 2019
I am totally blind, and there are things to help someone be as independent as they want to be. "maxie Aids for the Blind" is a web site which sells everything from computers to games, and is also for other disabled persons. There are computers with screen-readers and one can go on the net, play games, download books, listen to music, and do everything except look at pictures.

There are smart phones which can be set up at an Apple store, and these have SERI and voice over. As the article said, there are talking books, and of course audio books and other books from Liverbox, a place on the web.

There are chat rooms for the blind such as: "cafe for the blind." You can listen to movies with video description on that site, or you can go to "movies for the blind." or comcast has the box which also has a screen-reader and you can listen or watch Tv by using it.

or if you have a computer, you can download games which have sappy voices. This site has card games, word games, and even psudokoand the site is called "spoonbill games for the blind" and they are for free. Just some ideas.
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.
Julianne 21st Feb 2021 Lifestyle Coordinator
Fantastic idea Shantell, I have made one also using a hot glue gun to trace over the numbers which makes them raised. I like the idea of it being on a board with edges.thanks :)
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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