When an older family member becomes visually impaired, it can be challenging to continue certain activities he or she may be used to.
You may need to adapt or adjust certain activities to meet their changing needs.
Here are some tips if your older family member is visually impaired:
- If he/she does wear glasses, be sure they have them on and they are clean and in good working order.
- Use a magnifying glass as needed.
- Good lighting is important. Provide good lighting in each room where activities occur.
- Bring a small magnifying glass or reading glasses for looking at menus at restaurants. Small flat magnifiers are available that are easily kept in a purse or wallet.
- Use large print for those who might benefit from it.
- Focus on activities that use their remaining senses, that is, hearing, taste, tactile, and sense of smell. These remaining senses become quite important in relating to the world around them.
Activities that focus on other senses:
- Audio-books – Audio books are available in-stores, on-line, and at libraries. This is an alternative for those who have lost the ability to read or see books in print.
- Listen to music of interest, radio programs, or old time radio shows. My dad is hard of hearing as well, so he has a set of head phones that he listens to talk radio on.
- Sensory gardening uses many of the senses including touching plants, tasting produce, smelling flowers and herbs, and listening to the outside world such as birds, weather, and small animals. Family members can garden with patio pots, plant different plants, water plants, dead-head flowers, and just enjoy the garden and all it has to offer.
- Activities involving food are a great fit for those visually impaired. The kitchen uses many of our senses. They may help prepare a meal, help to do dishes, and enjoy a meal together.
- Reminiscing is a wonderful activity where memories may be sparked by aromas, hearing certain sounds, touching certain objects or materials, or by tasting a favorite food.
- Activities that use textural materials like crafts are great for the sense of touch. Clay can be formed into many shapes such as snowmen or small bowls, yarn can be wound around sticks to make a God’s Eye, a birdhouse or other wood can be sanded down smooth, potpourri can be gathered and placed in a basket, and many more.
- Assist a loved one in reading her mail and other reading materials as needed and requested.
- Take a look at what your loved one loves to do and think about ways to adapt or adjust it. Think about new activities to introduce him or her to. Talk to your loved one about what works best for them.