One of my favorite books on macular degeneration is The First Year: Age-Related Macular Degeneration: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed by Dan Roberts. As someone who has lived with macular degeneration for almost 20 years, he provides education and practical advice, not just about treating macular degeneration but about living with it as well. In the chapter called The Task of Living with Central Vision Loss, he writes, “You can find alternative ways to live successfully” and “Your life will be as good as you make it.”
The task of finding alternative ways to live successfully can be applied in the kitchen, the bathroom, the workplace, the garage and other people’s homes. One of the most important “tasks” of living successfully with macular degeneration or other vision loss is to continue socializing with others. My father-in-law who has wet macular degeneration enjoys spending his evenings playing games with my mother-in-law, guests or any visiting family. Thankfully, even as his vision has deteriorated he has “found alternative ways” to enjoy his favorite games.
Did you know that many of today’s popular games come in large print or in large editions for those with vision loss? Games such as Scrabble, Sequence, Bridge cards and more are now an option for those with deteriorating vision. Last year we got my father-in-law Large Print Rummikub for Christmas. The colors on the tiles are brighter with more contrast and bigger making it possible for him to continue playing. His other favorite game is Sequence. It is a very busy looking game board and he was struggling to see it, that is until we got him the Jumbo Sequence. Another game that is available in a larger version is Scrabble. Large print scrabble tiles have really dark letters on a white background for better contrast as well as larger sized tiles.
For those who play games on a regular basis, such as Bridge, and are struggling to see the cards, the first step is to let your friends know about your eye condition and the kind of vision loss you are experiencing. Discuss with them that it would be helpful to you if the game could be played with large print cards.
The value of playing games like Bridge, Sequence, Scrabble or Rummikub is two-fold – socialization and stimulation. The tendency to isolate becomes stronger as one’s vision diminishes. Socializing with others in ways that also stimulate the mind helps to ward off depression and energizes the mind and spirit.
Help your loved one keep his/her mind stimulated and engaged and their social life active through large print or low vision editions of their favorite games.
Low Vision Games
Leslie Degner, RN, BSN