State Can Help Improve Quality of Life for Those with Vision Difficulties

Article excerpt

Byline: Cecelia Sanders

If you know someone who is blind or whose sight is moderately to severely restricted due to glaucoma, cataracts, complications of diabetes or other problems, there is help available to make their life easier.

The Department of Rehabilitation Services in Aurora serves all of Kane County and has services, programs and items available, along with a grant to provide free services to low-income seniors 55 and older.

An assessment, done in the home, helps evaluate what is needed in the home to make life easier and more efficient for those with vision problems. Hidden dangers are identified, such as throw rugs that could cause a fall or cords running across traffic paths. The degree of vision loss will determine how much help is needed.

During the assessment, the person is asked what he or she would like to do, or used to like to do before their vision restricted their abilities. For example, someone might have been an avid reader, but now they are unable to enjoy this facet of their lives. Services and programs such as books on tape, which are available at libraries, might help those with vision problems enjoy best sellers and magazines again.

If the person liked to sew, but cannot now thread a needle easily, there are low-vision aids that can make this a possibility again.

Around the home, there are so many items that can help. For example, large-number push-button telephones make dialing easier. Phones with speed dialing allow easier calling to relatives and friends.

In the kitchen, measuring cups and spoons with large, raised lettering, and large timers with raised numbers, are very helpful. Raised-number dials for stoves and ovens also are available. Some of these are available in local grocery stores; others may need to be ordered from catalogs available through DORS.

Cooking can be made easier by printing either with large lettering or puffy paint, which can be painted to the food packaging. These help a person with limited vision to identify canned or packaged goods. …