The AgingCare.com Caregiver Forum is filled with caregivers and elder care experts who come together to share valuable information. We’ve compiled some of their best ideas to help seniors with vision loss continue to participate in hobbies and activities.

Hobbies for Blind and Low-Vision Seniors

“My mother is legally blind. The Library of Congress offers a free braille and talking book program that sends out a special player with a memory stick and a catalog regularly. I’ve found that I seldom get the books I have ordered, but usually they’re at least in the same category or genre. My mother likes the teenage girl-type stories. Go to www.loc.gov/nls to see what’s available. Gardening helps Mom a lot, too. It is HOT here, though, and she can only go out early in the morning or late in the afternoon. She happily hoes on the weeds (and chops down some of the vegetables in the process), but she does surprisingly well. She was raised on a farm and all the kids were required to work in the fields from the time they could walk, so it’s second nature to her.” –sherry1anne

“Check with your local libraries about books for the blind and music programs. Some time ago, I read about a program at a garden center for the visually impaired. The gardens were planted in raised beds so visitors could easily touch the herbs and enjoy the fragrances. Here’s an article I found on creating a garden for the visually impaired: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/accessible/visually-impaired-gardens.htm. Even if you don’t have a program like this in your community or any gardening space, you could create a small terrarium garden with herbs that your loved one could rub, smell and perhaps clip for cooking.” –GardenArtist

“Check your area’s senior resources for groups and events that are appropriate for your loved one. Our city has a ride service so people who can’t drive have a way to get to these local events. As for things to do at home, I had a blind aunt who knitted. She couldn’t see her dropped stitches but was still able to donate her blankets to local shelters. It made her feel productive and the finished product didn’t have to be perfect, either. I’d also suggest a drum class. I’ve been to my sighted mother’s class, and it’s not as if you have to watch the instructor. Everyone has a drum and does their own thing. They drum and sing along to favorite old songs. There are people in some communities that specialize in these types of drum classes and they travel to senior centers and homes.” –abc1234567890

“Both my blind father and a blind elderly client enjoy doing crossword puzzles together. I read the clues aloud and they do a kind of scrabble together to think of the answers. I bought some metal cookie sheets and big letter magnets (the kind you put on the fridge to help children spell) at the dollar store. They can feel the shapes of the letters and make words. It’s fun for them and keeps their brains active.” –Julieannmade

“I’ve at last found a use for the complete Mozart collection my son gave me many Christmases ago. The music plays softly in the background and mother claims to like it, although I don’t know how much she actually hears. The mathematical rhythms and intervals are supposed to be soothing to the brain.” –Churchmouse

“Find some things that are tactile for them. You could just make a game of smelling things that might bring back memories, such as peppermint, lilacs, vanilla, etc. If your loved one enjoyed baking, let them knead some bread dough or mix pre-measured ingredients together for recipes.” –Jaye

“My mother is 96, just about blind and almost completely deaf. Since she has moved in with my husband and me, we have found it difficult to keep her occupied. So far, the big winners are our visiting grandchildren and a litter of foster kittens my adult daughter is bottle-feeding (pet therapy). She also enjoys sitting outside when the weather is good, marveling at how nice the sun and breeze feel on her skin. We continue to try to find things that involve the other senses like smell, touch and taste.” –goodgirl


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“It is a challenge to find activities when the hands, the eyes and the ears are not working at their best, but keep trying. Ask for their help with folding washcloths. They’re small enough to handle easily, and they might enjoy the tactile sensations. In addition, it gives them a feeling of helping the household. I do that with my mom who is 106, with low vision and hearing loss. A family member or volunteer can simply sit and talk with the senior and maybe take some of their old pictures out and describe them aloud. My mom remembers the pictures even though she can’t see them. She enjoys when anyone will take time to sit, go through and describe them to her.” –Kaseymoe

“My mom lost what was left of her poor vision after an optic nerve stroke. She also is wheelchair bound. I struggle to find things she’s able to do, but she is able to sing along. She used to play the piano and I have a game called Piano with Songs on my iPad. You just play the highlighted keys and it sounds just like a piano or organ. She used to be able to do it herself, but now I hold her finger and guide her hand. There’s old folk songs and some hymns on the app that your loved one might remember, or maybe you could find hymns online you could sing together.” –rocketjcat

“I am a companion for a partially blind 93-year-old lady. It is challenging finding activities for her to keep her from sleeping all the time. These are just a few I have come up with:

  • Wind yarn into balls (Sometimes I take already wound balls and have her rewind them again.)
  • String large pony beads on a plastic lanyard (I have enough for 6-8 strands. Then I just take the beads off the lanyards so she can string them again.)
  • Drying dishes. I wash smaller, lighter dishes (e.g. measuring cups, plastic cups and bowls) and place them on the kitchen table in front of her so she can dry them. We have a dishwasher, but this gives her something to do.
  • Dusting. (I give her a dusting rag and have her dust knick-knack items from the living room and around the house.)
  • Exercise. (I give her a stretch band and exercise ball to do leg, arm and hand exercises with.)” –Kay1990

“Have a storyteller, companion or student come in and read to your loved one. Also, exercise or possibly chair yoga for the blind is very good. (Exercise is good for everybody.) Consider taking your loved one to a massage therapist for a chair massage or even a reflexologist for a foot massage. My mother loves having her toenails and fingernails done. Perhaps some seniors would enjoy pampering at a salon?” –sherry1anne