MOBILITY TIPS

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  • Slow down. Take a few extra minutes to assess your surroundings to cut down on potential accidents.

  • Use consistent, strong (natural-type) lighting throughout your house. Use floor or table lamps with bendable fixtures to minimize glare. Otto-lite is a good brand.

  • Get honest. Tell others how they can help you.

  • Carry a small, rechargeable flashlight for dark areas and at night.

  • Have specific areas for frequently-used items, such as your keys, wallet, checkbook, and purse.

  • Be pro-active with doctors, reporting any changes in your vision and remain up-to-date on strides in medical advances.

  • Work with a retinal specialist that you feel comfortable with and who answers your questions. Don’t be timid about changing your eye care specialist if that level of communication isn’t there.

  • Find a support group or someone who can understand your frustrations.

  • Exercise, stay fit, find a hobby, try a new sport, even if you have to adapt it to your abilities. Stay challenged and connected with others.

  • Keep a positive outlook and a sense of humor about your day-to-day activities.

  • Be flexible. Learn to accept and adapt. When things don’t go according to plan, find other ways to accomplish it the next time.

  • Put others at ease and you put yourself at ease.

Resource: personal experience. http://www.visionaustralia.org/living-with-low-vision/family-friends-andcarers/communicating-effectively-with-people-who-are-blind-or-vision-impaired

  • Encourage independence and self-confidence, especially in completing daily tasks.

  • Advise your loved one to ask for help when necessary.

  • Keep your homes organized so things can be found easily. Don’t move things around without informing your loved one.

  • Speak in a normal tone of voice unless your loved one also has a hearing problem.

  • Talk openly about difficulties and work through them together. 

  • Do not gossip on the phone or in person with friends about something that happened to your vision-impaired spouse or child. It’s belittling.

  • Make adjustments in your home so that it’s safe. Remove any obstructions and throw rugs as well as unnecessary doors. Increase lighting.

  • Advocate exercise, a healthy lifestyle and a good diet. Foods rich in eye nutrition are sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, spinach, corn.

  • Show support to your loved one, who is going through changes with his or her vision. Be patient and positive.

  • If your loved one enjoys reading, there are several ways to continue that interest. Consider using a special stand to prop the book up to eye level, magnifiers a closed circuit television (CCTV). Enroll in the Carnegy Library for the Blind, which special digital players and audio.

Additional resource: Wolfe, Peggy R. Macular Disease: Practical Strategies for Living with Low Vision 2nd Ed. (Minneapolis, Park Publishing, 2011).

  • Encourage independence and self-confidence in whatever they attempt.

  • Offer to drive or go with them to complete their errands once a week. Be dependable.

  • Identify yourself. Don’t assume the person will recognize you by your voice.

  • Continue to use your body language. This will affect the tone of your voice and give your vision-impaired friend extra information.

  • In a group situation, introduce all the other people present.

  • It’s always helpful when directing conversation in a group to name the person to whom you are talking.

  • Never channel conversation through a third person.

  • Use everyday language. Don’t avoid words like “see” or “look” or discussing typical activities like watching television.

  • Become familiar with role of “sighted guide.” Offer your arm or gently take their just above the elbow. Never grab their wrists, shoulder, or any part of their cane.

  • Be a good listener and sounding board. Don’t be critical.

  • Speak in a normal tone of voice unless the visually-impaired person also has a hearing problem.

  • Use accurate information when giving directions. For example, the door is on your left.

  • Volunteer to go with them to doctor’s appointments.

  • Never leave the room or your friend without advising them – they may be talking.

  • Help your friend to see humor in their situation but never laugh at them.

Resource: http://www.visionaustralia.org/living-with-low-vision/family-friends-and-carers/communicating-effectivelywith-people-who-are-blind-or-vision-impaired.

MUSIC

Let Them See You is a praise song my country western songwriter friend and I wrote together. After we got the words down, he composed the music and recorded it for me.   The lyrics  came to me  when I was having “a bad vision day” and feeling ashamed of my clumsy efforts. It’s hard to feel independent when you trip or run into things.  It hurts my pride to ask for help.  This song is about letting go of that pride and shame to allow God to  shine through whatever weakness or struggle we have. It’s about optimism. Our weakness is made perfect in His strength. Take hope, friends!

Copyright 2011 Amy Bovaird and Frank Beck.

The White Cane Song

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