Caring4Alice Asked July 2009

Can you recommend activities for 86 year old who lost vision to macular degeneration?

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My 86 year old grandfather recently lost his vision because of macular degeneration. He is in perfect health otherwise. Until he lost his vision he would spend hours in his garden and loved to read and watch TV. I was thinking about getting him an ipod or other audio device so he can listen to audio books. Can anyone recommend a device I can get him to listen to audio books that he would be able to operate? I'd also like to hear other ideas for how to keep him active.

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NancyH Dec 2009
My mother-in-law also has macular degeneration but has retained vision partially in one eye. But that was through cutting edge technology with an ophthalmologist with Kaiser Permanente here in Oregon. It is so frustrating for her to not be able to read, do crosswords, or see your faces anymore. I do take her to movies still, because she can still see the screen when it's big and farther away. As for your grandpa, I was thinking, has he ever written down, or in his case now, recorded his childhood? Before he's gone and those memories are lost, maybe a project for him, would be, to record on cassette (easiest way) his memories of growing up etc. You, or someone else could transcribe those memories onto paper for the rest of the family. It would give him a constructive project and be something valuable for the next generation. Anyway, just a thought.
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LoisW Jul 2009
All the above suggestions are great and most appropriate. Depending upon your grandfather's cognitive status and his general health and functional ability otherwise than sight, I also recommend finding ways for him to maintain a role he can perceive as valuable and contributing in the family or even the community. Was he a woodworker? If so, have him help others with sanding wood pieces. Does he sing? He could still join a choir. Self image is key to good mental health. Anyway your grandfather can connect with his soul, his spirit, the man he is apart from his disability is important. Help him find ways to contribute, ways to feel necessary in the life of his family (I don't mean just telling him so, but finding ways for him to participate) and in the world. He still needs a role to play.
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ChickPea Jul 2009
How horribly frustrating for you both. If he is keen to be active, what other activities did he enjoy with sight ? if he was a cyclist, then riding at the back of a tandem might be good - if he was a horse rider, he could be again, initially on a lead rope - but if he was able to work with specialists for the disabled, he might astound himself with what he could achieve riding. There are people specialising in sailing with people with practical difficulties - loss of vision should not mean he has to take to his chair unable to do anything - very best wishes to you both !
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naricinfo Jul 2009
The National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped may provide audiobooks and equipment.

URL(s): http://lcweb.loc.gov/nls.
Phone: 888/657-7323 (Connect to a local library),

Also check with your state's assistive technology project about equipment, too. You can find your state's project at http://www.resnaprojects.org/nattap/at/

And definitely visit Vision AWARE. They have tons of activities, suggestions, and tips for people with vision loss http://www.visionaware.org
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Oconnork Jul 2009
I bought my father a Sony Walkman to listen to
audiobooks. His nurse had to change
the CDs for him. Another thing I did was
set up specific times for him to talk
on my cell phone with his various friends
around the country. I think these two
activites were very important in preventing
him from becoming depressed when the
macular degeneration rendered him almost
almost completely blind.
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jellybeans Jul 2009
audio books, music, walks outside (with assistance), spending time talking with him
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