When vision loss starts to interfere with one’s ability to see numbers on clocks, watches, microwaves, calculators, and more you may not need a magnifier, you may just need to switch to devices that talk. My father-in-law who has wet macular degeneration used to do most of the maintenance on his car. One of the tasks he has continued to do is to check the tire pressure on their car tires thanks to a talking tire pressure gauge. In case you are unaware of the variety of talking gadgets here are some ideas of how sound or voice can be useful vision aids for those with low vision.
Cooking with Low Vision
Even if you don’t care to do a lot of cooking, a person still has to eat and drink. One of my friends with macular degeneration finds that pouring a cup of coffee or filling a glass of water is so much easier with her liquid level indicator. Place the gadget in a cup or glass and when the fluid starts to get close to the top a beeping noise is emitted. Do you like to bake cookies, muffins or pies? With a talking measuring cup and a talking timer, you can still enjoy fresh chocolate chip cookies without burning them.
Telling Time and Temperature
Simply press a button on a talking wrist watch and you can hear what time it is. You don’t need to strain your eyes to see any numbers. Fashionable looking talking watches are available in styles for men and women. Another helpful aid is a talking clock. Do you or does your loved one need a reminder as to what day it is? Many talking clocks provide the day of the week and year as well as the time. When we call my father-in-law, the first thing he likes to report to us is the weather. It certainly is helpful to know how to dress for a minus 40 degree day in Wisconsin. He doesn’t need to listen to the TV or radio, he just touches a button to hear the current indoor and outdoor temperatures announced.
Monitoring Your Health
Many people with low vision have other health concerns that need attention. Diabetic retinopathy is a retinal condition that is often experienced by those with diabetes. Monitoring and recording blood glucose levels is important and necessary. A talking blood glucose monitor helps to ensure accuracy. High blood pressure becomes more common as people age. Those who have been diagnosed with hypertension need to be sure that their medication is working by checking their blood pressure regularly. There is no need to try to decipher tiny numbers on a blood pressure cuff with a talking blood pressure monitor. Feel like you might have a temperature or perhaps you have the flu and the office nurse wants to know what your temperature is. A talking ear thermometer will give you the information you need.
While magnifiers are useful in many situations, sometimes talking aids may be the most practical. For more ideas on how low vision aids can assist with everyday living visit:
Leslie Degner, RN, BSN