More than 2.9 million people in the United States have vision impairment, and many of these people are older adults. If you have eyesight challenges, gadgets can help you be more independent and complete your daily tasks with greater ease. To help you discover the latest technologies for people with low vision, the team at Autumn View Gardens senior living community in Ellisville, MO, created this handy guide. Read on to explore our top picks.
Computers can allow you to keep in touch with friends and family on social media, play games, pay bills, stream films and television shows and so much more. With desktop magnifier devices, you can increase the size of objects on the screen so images are clearer and text is easier to read. These devices are available for both laptops and desktops, and while their designs differ, they can help you enjoy your computer to the fullest.
When you’re on the go, you never know when difficulties seeing may present challenges. With virtual assistance glasses, you’re ready for anything. These glasses have a built-in camera that captures live footage of your field of vision. Agents working for the manufacturers watch the streaming video and provide real-time instructions and assistance as needed.
Text-to-speech readers are available as both apps for mobile devices and standalone portable gadgets you can easily take with you wherever you go. Whatever their design, they do the reading for you, scanning words and then reading them aloud. You can use text-to-speech readers for books, newspapers and magazines, but their benefits go beyond giving you access to printed media. These gadgets can also read the content of receipts, nutritional labels and prescription medication instructions.
Also called white canes, probing canes can help you safely navigate your surroundings. With the addition of smart technology, these assistive devices can now do more than ever before. Some include ultrasound technology to notify you of obstacles that are chest level or higher, reducing the risk of walking into a traffic sign or hitting a tree branch during an outing. There are also models that sync with the map apps and GPS in mobile devices to give you step-by-step audible walking directions to your destination.
With the right gadgets, you can get all the benefits of braille while using your mobile device. Braille adapters connect to tablets and smartphones via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. As you use apps, send texts and surf the internet, the adapter translates the text on the screen to braille, so you can navigate with your fingers and not miss out on anything.
If you have a chronic medical condition, home monitoring may play an important role in your treatment plan. The manufacturers of health monitors now offer talking versions of many commonly used devices. Examples include talking blood pressure monitors for hypertension, glucometers for diabetes and thermometers for fevers. In addition to saying the readings aloud for your convenience, many of these devices also send the data to an app you can access on a smartphone, tablet or computer. With this feature, you can easily share results with your health care provider without having to write anything down.
Preparing meals at home gives you control over your diet and can be a relaxing, fun experience. Assistive kitchen aids can help you overcome obstacles to getting dinner on the table by giving you information you’d otherwise need to read. You can find talking induction cookers that let you precisely set cooking temperatures and talking kitchen scales for measuring ingredients and practicing portion control. With a talking liquid level indicator, you can fill everything from your coffee mug to a stock pot with the right amount of liquid, and there are even gadgets that will tell you when something on the stove starts to boil.
For managing medications, try talking pill bottle caps. These devices come in standard sizes to suit small and large medication bottles you get from the pharmacy. Once you replace the lid that came with the medication, the caps can help you keep track of when you last took your medication with audible messages. Some also include talking reminders that notify you when it’s time to take a specific drug. With these devices, you’ll have less worry about missing doses or accidentally taking extra doses.
Thanks to the latest mobile apps, it’s possible for people with low vision to enjoy crossword puzzles, sudoku and other games that traditionally require sight to enjoy. Available for both Apple and Android devices, these apps read clues and describe the puzzles so you don’t have to read to play.
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