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She is often bored and her cognitive skills have decreased dramatically since losing her sight. She used to knit and read, but now she's only able to listen to TV and I do often read to her...any other ideas on how to excercise her mind and occupy her time?

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Joyce has several excellent suggestions. I'd add to that only to say that anything that stimulates her other senses in a way she likes should help. I'm assuming she could, at one time, see. So, if you get her a soft sweater, tell her the color in the most descriptive and comparative words you can find, then let her touch it to feel the texture. In the same way, describe scenery if you go for a drive. You can say remember what such and such looked like? This is similar (only if this doesn't distress her - each person is different).
Be careful not to over do things so that she feels you are treating her like a child, however. It's important that she be your guide. I particularly liked Joyce's idea of letting her tell stories. That is good with any elder -after all, they've lived a long life. Give her full attention, and since she can't see your reactions, voice your reactions often. Let her know you are interested in what she has to say.
Losing one's sight has got to be a huge challenge no matter what age one is. But your grandmother likely has a huge store of memories. Work with those memories to make the most of them.
Take care,
Carol
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There are lots of good books on CD she could listen to. My husband actually prefers these to reading and he can see just fine. If she can excercise her body maybe some form of mild excercise might be fun with the proper coaching.

What about telling her life story to you or a grandchild, who could write it down and make a scrapbook journal to be passed on to the next generation. I used to love to listen to my grandmother tell stories of her childhood and more.

When the weather gets nice trips to places that have flowers blooming can be wonderful. A lot depends on how much she can actually see. Does she like animals, maybe someone with a therapy dog could visit if she is not allergic.

This must be very difficult, I can't imagine what my world would be like if I couldn't see. My heart goes out to you and your grandma.
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My aunt is legally blind, so Joyce's suggestion is great about books on CD. My aunt just loves this and she can get books(CD) through the Blind Association - all are free. So there must be a local chapter in your area. They mail the CD to her and she just mails it back to them. Also, does she like talk radio? Many of the elderly thrive on listening to this and it stimulates ideas and conversation. Bless you and take care.
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Thank you so much for the ideas and your support. This is my first experience on this forum and I have already found it invaluable. Thanks again!
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There are so many things she can do. First of all, simple knitting is still possible if your grandmother will stick with scarves and a simple knit stitch. Making fleece blankets by knotting is another craft that can be done without vision. There are people doing this for international children's organizations. Also, books on tape through the library for the blind is free, postage is free, and equipment is free. Until you can get that started, work with your local library. Audio books are a popular item now. Start an audio diary with your grandmother. Ask her certain questions and allow her to tape her own answers. I am a retired special ed teacher who worked with students with vision limitations. I wish I could share so many ideas with you. What is your grandmother's exact vision? There is still a world out there for your grandmother to enjoy. Rebecca
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How sad...however the above are good ideas, check out the local schools....if they have special ed/autistic teachers, they could be a good source as well. They deal with kids with many limitations that can be circumvented and make learning/living enjoyable for all! Good luck and keep us posted with the progress.
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Google to see where the closest Lighthouse for the Blind is for you. Lighthouse is a great resource for both counseling and actual items for them to use. My late MIL was low vision, macular degeneration and she got a reading machine from them that increased the font size from like a 30 point to a 8 point so she could read. It was cumbersome at first but she got into it.

You might want to go to a toy store and look to see what's there for toddler's - like Lego Duplo line. Toddler stuff is great as the size works for arthritic hands and the things they are creating (zoo animals, polar bear paradise, tropical island sets) are stuff they have an idea of what they should look like if they still can see shapes and colors. If cost is an issue, these items can be bought for super cheap at resale shops. Duplo's usually come in their own big plastic easy open container so easy to keep organized.

With my mom, she did silk flower projects. I could leave her a laundry basket of silk and plastic flowers and a bunch of unbreakable tins with floral foam glued in and she could work and rework them for weeks. If your mom still can see shapes and colors, this could be fun for her. Again, resale shops often have flowers for cheap and then there's always inexpensive ones at WalMart. Have fun!
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If there is a children's museum in your area, your grandmother might enjoy some of the tactile interactive exhibits. The trip could be part of a brunch or late afternoon dessert outing with you or other family members. Sometimes just sitting on a shady swing listening to the birds evokes mental pictures. If you have space for a swing and bird feeders, it would be an inexpensive, accessible outlet.
Local school band and choir presentations might be something she would also enjoy.
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