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Vision and Reading aids for Elderly

There is nothing better than reading a good book. But, if you read a lot you know that in some cases reading may affect your vision. Especially if you read in poor lighting. Aids like glasses, magnifiers or reading lights can drastically improve vision.

Many experience pain in thumbs while reading. Think about some kind of holder, you can make it yourself easily. There are also other solutions like an audiobook. Read on to find more about devices that help with reading.

What causes Reading problems as we Age?

Our eyes change, even more as we reach our 60s and beyond. As we get older, we lose visual sensitivity, particularly to fine visual detail.

The most common changes are caused by a condition called Presbyopia. It occurs when the lens in the eyes becomes less flexible and you start to lose focus. If you start to notice such vision changes, don’t hesitate to discuss symptoms with your eye doctor.

There are some solutions that you should implement by yourself. You can help yourself with vision and reading aids. Below are some gadgets that can help to ease vision and reading problems.

Low vision Aids for the Elderly

Reading Lights

Exposure to dark light causes a dry eye, and shortsightedness, in the long run, also too powerful light is harmful to the eyes. A great reading light is not about brightness alone. Our eyes have evolved over millions of years under natural light. So you should try to find a natural balanced bright light beam close to the daylight.

Another aspect is the design of a reading light, we all have different needs, we have different reading habits. Some like to use adjustable lamps while others use fixed light. Those who read in bed are always looking for reading lights for the bedroom.

Glasses

The dioptre on pre-made reading glasses is usually the same in both lenses and is not customized for individuals. So if you already have some difficulties with your eyes it is probably best to have your eyes examined and see if you need a prescription for glasses.

Wearing reading glasses should fix your vision. If you don`t have the right lens, glasses won’t damage your eyes. However, they may cause headaches, eye strain, and nausea.

Magnifiers

There are two types of magnifiers, optical and electronic. If you want to see objects in close proximity this is the right aid for you.

The optical magnifier is simple to use handheld device. When you use it you have the ability to adjust the distance between objects and magnifier which helps to read texts and view photos more easily. Many have built-in illumination.

An electronic or video magnifier is an alternative for opticals. If you have a smartphone you have it, you just need to make some small setups. You can magnify images or texts, adjust colors and zoom in or foom out.

In case you don’t want to use it on your phone you should consider portable electronic magnifier, which can be a great help when shopping. Most of these are also capable of multiple additional magnification levels. Some can be plugged into a computer or TV.

Large Prints

Large prints are a bigger format of literature, documents, and art to adjust to people who have poor vision. The font size in large prints is generally 16  to 18 points, whereas regular print is 10 to 12.

Most common are book reprints of the original size, which contains most of the best sellers of various genres. There are several publishers that stock such literature so the senior citizens can sustain their love of reading.

Reading aids for the Elderly

Reading Holders

This reading aid prevents spine pain and enables reading without having hands glued to the book pages. It helps to position reading literature at a height and angle to make reading more comfortable. The reading holder also promotes an upright, orthopedically correct position. There are different kinds of stands designed for different situations.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks don’t only mark the page where you left. It can also provide other features. Today’s market offers many different useful bookmarks. You can choose from bookmark magnifiers that are made of a lightweight magnifying glass.

There are also bookmark magnets that are designed to wrap around the page. Have you ever heard about a digital bookmark? It has a timer on it, so you can measure the time of reading. If your book constantly closes itself, check the weight page holder.

Audiobooks

When eyesight deteriorates, either due to illness or advanced age, audiobook could be a helpful alternative to reading. You can call it also voice recordings of the text. Most public library systems offer audiobook downloads online.

It is possible to listen to it on multiple devices such as smartphone, tablet, smartwatch or computer… If you use a computer, install an audiobook application that is easy to use. Also, when you look for an audiobook player, search for a device with a simple user interface.

You can still choose a standard music player. Make sure that the player has the ability to plug in USB. Choose the player that doesn’t have too many buttons and that the volume is easily adjustable.

What’s next?

I hope this article gave you good insights into reading aids. Stay active, keep reading, use reading aids. In case you are looking for other gadgets you should check tips on these useful products. If you are aging in place check how to make a senior-friendly home.

List of Assistive Devices for Elderly

This is a list of assistive devices for the elderly. This article will list mobility aids like walkers or aids for dressing. There are devices for hearing Impaired and low vision. If you are modifying your home you will find assistive devices for the bathroom like safety and grooming devices. Also, if you have a garden you need to check gardening tools designed for seniors. You will find many more aids below!

Let’s start with walking canes, crutches and walkers…

Assistive aids for Balance and Mobility

Most seniors need help with mobility and balance, and the most obvious one here is the simple walking cane. These are more geared towards helping with balance, than about helping with mobility. Crutches are the obvious assist device if you have problems with your legs after an injury.

However, probably the best support device is the walker. These take all your weight yet allow you to walk along behind. Some have a seat fitted to the frame for the occasional rest period or have a shopping basket attached to help with carrying goods.

Aids for wheelchair Users

Wheelchairs are invaluable if the user has total mobility problems or is just unable to stand and walk for long periods. There are many different types of wheelchairs designed for a variety of different uses, far too many to be discussed here.

We’ll leave it up to the senior or their caregiver to discuss the requirements with a medical practitioner or mobility equipment retailer. However, one of the main problems with using wheelchairs is the lack of smooth shallow gradient ramps out here in the real world.

Although there are more and more ramps available in public buildings and department stores, the private home still lags behind. The obvious assistance device for wheelchairs has got to be a portable ramp that can help users manage front doorsteps as well as accessing disabled vehicles.

Another useful device always used in sports chairs, but rarely in general use chairs is the seatbelt. Many people who use wheelchairs lack the physical strength to sit upright. In this case, it’s best to use chairs with fitted, comfortable padded straps.

Aids for dressing

The problem with most dressing fasteners is that the buttons or zippers are usually too small to grip properly. There are various types of button hooks and zipper pulls available if you have problems holding small objects. Extended shoehorns help those who cannot bend. While, sock and stocking aids help to pull socks over the feet. Check more about dressing aids.

Assistive aids for Eating and Drinking

Seniors with gripping problems and those with uncontrollable tremors in hands and arms will find these very useful. Typical assistive devices include feeding beakers to prevent liquid spills, cutlery, and pens with large handle diameters. Others include non-slip placemats, cutlery with angled handles for those with limited wrist movement, and double-handled drinking mugs.

Devices for Reaching

If you are confined to a bed or cannot stretch, an extended arm reacher device will work wonders. Have a look around first as there are many different types to choose from. However, they all operate on essentially the same principle. They have a long stick with a handgrip and trigger at one end while on the other end there is a set of jaws or fingers.

Assistive aids for hearing Impaired

There are many devices available to help hearing-impaired seniors. One of the better ones is a vibrating alarm clock. It comes with a vibrating pad that slips beneath your pillow and vibrates when it’s time to wake up.

It’s always a problem knowing if someone is at the door if you can’t hear the doorbell or door knocker. It’s relatively simple to connect louder bells or use wireless Bluetooth to connect the bell push to a table lamp that flashes when someone is at the door.

Smoke alarms always seem to rely on being able to hear the alarm. However, you can buy smoke alarms that not only sound a loud alarm, they also flash a strobe light and use vibrations to warn the user.

Personal television earphones are really useful. These have their own volume control and use wireless Bluetooth to connect to the TV. This allows other viewers in the same room to set the volume to a more reasonable level. There are also phones specially designed for hearing impaired.

Aids for low Vision

Many seniors suffer from low vision brought about by a variety of diseases and injuries. Typical age-related disorders include macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Assistive devices fall into three categories:

  • Optical devices. Such as magnifiers, strong reading glasses, loupes, and illuminated magnifiers.
  • Non-optical devices. This category contains items such as reading stands, additional lighting, absorptive sunglasses and tactile dots such as the Braille language. You normally use these in conjunction with the optical devices.
  • Electronic devices. These are electronic viewers that scan and display text and other items. A hand control or a touchscreen interface usually operate these. This device is similar to those used in a digital camera or phone camera.

RELATED: Reading aids for the elderly

Devices for bathroom

It’s amazing how simple devices save so much effort for the elderly and disabled. Handgrip bars fitted by the toilet, shower, and bathtub allows users to support themselves if they have balance issues. If gripping small objects is a problem then push-on soft rubber sleeves over faucet handles will help.

Another useful yet simple device is a shower seat installed within the shower cubicle. This allows seniors to sit while washing and helps if balance issues are a problem.

Assistive aids for Grooming

Grooming usually involves holding and manipulating scissors or razors or holding objects such as hair driers and scrubbing brushes. All these are difficult to use if you have problems with hand tremors or limited reach.

You can use nail scissors with long handles, and safety razors with large diameter handles. If your limbs are wrapped in bandages or plaster casts, you’ll have problems trying to keep them dry in the shower. Cast protectors, made from latex-free plastic with a tight-sealing ring, will keep surgical dressings dry.

For those with limited reach, long bent handled scrubbing brushes allow you to scrub your own back in the shower. If you have limited hand function or arthritis, it isn’t always possible to hold a hairdryer for long periods. The hairdryer stand is a simple and innovative device that grips a standard dryer and allows you to point it in the direction you want.

Assistive Devices for Gardening

Gardening is one of the outdoor hobbies that a senior can take pride in. Not only is it a valuable exercise in its own right, but it is also mentally stimulating and relaxing, and gets the senior out in the fresh air and sunshine.

Common gardening aids include large diameter handles for hand tools such as trowels, and kneelers with support handles to allow the user to partially kneel when working in the soil. You might find wheelbarrows heavy to lift and awkward to maneuver, so choose those made from lightweight plastic, with a ball wheel or better yet, use a three-wheeled trolley.

What’s next?

You need to stay active, exercise every day even if you use an assistive device, check some tips on how to exercise with a walker. Maybe you will find that exercises with resistance bands are fun.

Guide to Medication Assistive Devices – Medication Aids for the Elderly

Managing your medication as you get older can be a real nuisance. Don’t you find your pills are too small to handle easily? Also, you probably get easily confused as to which ones you should take at what time. Luckily there are aids available to help you with your medications.

Why is Medication Management Important?

By the way, if you take medications regularly, you should make a list and keep it somewhere handy, preferably on your person. This allows emergency services to easily find out if you’re on medication.

RELATED: Medication management tips for seniors

Medication Aids

Pill Dispensers

Automatic pill dispensers help to organize your pills so that you always take the correct doses at the correct times.

Pill dispensers are usually based on a weekly cycle and have separate compartments for each day and each time of day. The commonest type has four compartments for each day so you can spread your pills throughout the day. This repeats for each day of the week. All you need to do is spend about half an hour each week reloading your pill dispenser for the following week.

Before putting different pills together in the same compartment, check with your pharmacist that this is ok to do. Some pills may react adversely if kept together.

What happens if your memory is bad or you have problems sorting out the tiny pills?

Multi-Dose Packaging

If you can’t load your own pill dispenser, you can ask your pharmacist to provide one for you. They will group all your pills together at the correct time with the correct dosage and place them into a ‘blister-pack’. Each section has the correct day and time marked on it.

Pill Splitter

If you have problems swallowing pills, you might have to break your pills into pieces. This is easier said than done, especially if you don’t have much strength in your hands. The solution is to use a splitter to do the job. They are relatively inexpensive to buy and are very simple to use.

Pill Puncher-Pill Remover

Many tablets come prepacked into a clear plastic blister on a foil backing card. You only have to individually press the blister to extract the pill. That’s great if you are strong enough to do it, but many seniors lack this strength. A pill puncher will do the job for you.

Pill Crusher

Sometimes you must add a tablet to a drink or mixed into food, especially if the patient has an aversion to taking pills or if they have difficulty swallowing. A pill crusher will crush any uncoated tablet into a powder that is so much easier to take. The crusher has a screw action that applies the necessary pressure to crush the pill.

Eye Drop Dispenser

Seniors don’t only take pills, many use eye drops too. The trouble is that often the plastic bottles are difficult to squeeze and it isn’t always obvious where you are aiming for. An eye drop dispenser will hold differently shaped eye drop bottles and allows a senior to easily squeeze and deliver the required dosage. The dispenser’s shape allows you to easily fit it against the eye for accurate application.

Measuring Aids

The traditional measuring spoon supplied with medicinal liquids such as cough linctus guarantees you have a correct dosage. However, it’s not very easy to hold if you have problems gripping or if your hands shake.

The way to deal with this problem is to use one of two different methods.

  • Small plastic measuring cups have five millilitres or one teaspoon graduations so you can take the correct dosage. However, you have to be conscious and able to handle a cup to use one.
  • A medicine syringe also has millilitre or teaspoon graduations but, you or your carer can squirt the medicine directly into your mouth.

What’s next?