Tips, Tricks, and Treats For Holiday Events

Whether you celebrate Halloween or not, for many people October 31st signifies the beginning of the holiday season. This article will look at tips, tricks, and treats to help yourself and/or your loved ones with visual impairment make the most of your time together during this season and throughout the year. Many of these items can also help persons with other sorts of impairments as well.

Hosting a Holiday Event

Shopping, prepping, picking out the right outfit, and cooking are likely the first things that come to mind when hosting an event. Looking beyond the obvious what else should you be concerned with when you’re the one in charge?

When thinking about your guest list you need to keep several things in mind including any potential allergies. If mailing out invitations be diligent in including an RSVP with space to write in any food allergies your guest might have. If verbally inviting your guests practice working, it into the conversation to be sure it’s covered when invited. Michigan Health offers an in depth look on circumventing allergy pitfalls. One of their suggestions is to label each dish. To help visually impaired guests using this Braille Label Maker will make it easier for them to know what they are putting on their plates. (For Halloween trick or treaters the Teal Pumpkin Project helps take the guess work out of handing out allergen laden treats when knocking at your door)

Being able to hear or see when your guests arrive is also something that needs to be considered. This Wireless Doorbell could make their arrival easier for the host to notice. This doorbell has three different volume settings with four different chimes and a small light that flashes when the doorbell button is pressed. This can prove to be quite the handy doorbell signaler for hard of hearing users or anyone who needs a quick and easy to install wireless doorbell.

Planning for Events Away from Home

Knowing where each event will take place will make planning for the event easier. If the event is local then chances are planning will be minimal at best. If the most you must worry about is walking from a vehicle to a building, or even walking around your neighborhood, ensuring you have adequate lighting is important. This Dual Beam Flashlight is an excellent choice to illuminate both the ground to see where you’re walking and in front of you to see where you’re going. Its compact design with built in handle makes it easy to carry as well.  If you desire a more versatile light another good option is the Larry Light C LED Pocket Work Light.

If you’re traveling out of town, or even out of the state or country, different types of planning need to be done. If the mode of travel is out of your direct control (plane, train, bus, boat, etc.) then it’s important to call ahead to ensure they can accommodate all your needs and that every step along the way is accessible. Step by step tips can be found within this Wikihow article. Two items that can be obtained prior to heading out the door to your location of choice include the Revolution 7 Section Folding ID Cane and the Victor Reader Talking GPS. The first is quite useful for letting those around you know that you are blind or visually impaired. The second is multifunctional and can be handy throughout your travels. During passive travel you can listen to audio books or music and when actively traveling it doubles as a talking GPS; allowing you to hear your location no matter where it may be.

Time Management

In addition to the intricate planning that can be needed when hosting or attending an event proper time management can help everything go off without a hitch. Using a large print calendar or a braille calendar can help keep planning simple, organized, and timely.

Speaking of time, this Atomic Talking Time and Date Alarm Watch can be just what you need to not lose track of time. This watch is ideal for anyone with visual impairments or who are blind. It clearly speaks the time, day, date, and month in a pleasant male voice. Plus, being an atomic watch it’s particularly useful when the clocks change November 3rd (or any time change). Simply set your time zone and it automatically sets the time with no adjusting from you.

For more tips, treats, and tricks check out previous blogs or product info at independent living aids, LLC.

Monitoring Your Health: Tips for Healthy Eyes

Monitoring your health is important to every day living but it’s especially important for your eyes. Things you eat, habits you partake in, as well as, genetic factors all play a part in your vision. Conversely your eyes can reveal many things about your overall health as well. Let’s look at some of the bigger issues that play a part in general health and how you can better your chances of a long and healthy life. Your eyes will thank you.

Diet and Exercise

The American Macular Degeneration Foundation, WebMD, and The National Eye Institute all agree that a healthy diet and regular exercise are both keys to good eye health.  A healthy diet includes eating foods rich in green, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collard greens. It also means eating citrus fruit including oranges and natural fruit juices. Eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids at least once or twice a week is also recommended. This includes salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and albacore tuna. It is also suggested to eat eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources. Knowing what to eat is just as important in knowing what not to eat. Avoiding overly processed snack foods including chips, cake, cookies, soft drinks, and candy is also important for good eye health as suggested by a 2001 study.

Exercise is another important factor in good overall eye health. Walking is an easy exercise that can help you stay active and fit. This Multifunction Talking Pedometer is an inexpensive and easy way to keep track of your steps and how long you walk.  Being physically active helps you stay healthy. It can also lower your risk of health conditions that can cause eye health or vision problems — like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Checking your blood pressure on a regular basis is also important and easy with this Talking Bilingual Premium Digital Blood Pressure Arm Monitor.

Habits; the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Good habits to practice include wearing sunglasses and a hat with a visor whenever in bright sunlight to protect your eyes from potentially harmful ultra-violet (UV) light and blue light. It’s also important to wear safety goggles for dangerous jobs, some sports, or anywhere airborne particles risk getting into your eyes.

Bad habits including spending too much time on the computer or other electronic device and not taking proper care of your corrective lenses. Move the screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. That lets you look slightly down at the screen. Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor. Rest your eyes every 20 minutes. Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Get up at least every 2 hours and take a 15-minute break. Make sure your glasses or contacts prescription is up to date and good for looking at a computer screen. If you wear contacts, take steps to prevent eye infections including always washing your hands before you put your contact lenses in or taking them out. Be sure to disinfect your contact lenses and replace them regularly.

Ugly habits include smoking and never going to an eye doctor. Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs it can hurt your eyes, too. Smoking increases your risk of diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. If you’re ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free support. You can also check out the resources on Smokefree.gov.

Genetic Risk Factors

The main ways to know about genetic risk factors are through a detailed family history and/or routine doctor appointment. It is important to get a regular dilated eye exam. If you have no risk factors it may be possible to go several years in between eye exams but if you’re over the age of 60, African American and over the age of 40, or have a family history of glaucoma (or other eye diseases) it’s imperative that you go every 1 to 2 years.

The National Eye Institute states that getting older increases your risk of some eye diseases. You might also have a higher risk of some eye diseases if you are overweight or obese, have a family history of eye diseases, or are African American, Hispanic, or Native American. Other health conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, can also increase your risk of some eye diseases. For example, people with diabetes are at risk for diabetic retinopathy — an eye condition that can cause vision loss and blindness. Talk with your family members to find out if they’ve had any eye problems. Some eye diseases and conditions run in families, like age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma.

It’s much easier to prevent or ease severity of any potential issues if they are caught before they have time to become bigger issues. Even if your eyes feel healthy, you could have a problem and not know it. That’s because many eye diseases don’t have any symptoms or warning signs.

To find more products that can make living your healthiest life easier, including this Talking Six Language Ear and Forehead Thermometer see our homepage at https://www.independentliving.com/.

World Sight Day: Raising Public Awareness of Issues Surrounding Blindness and Visual Impairment

World Sight Day is celebrated the second Thursday of October every year. The event is celebrated all around the world by numerous organizations, eye care professionals, and other eye centric businesses. The aim of World Sight Day is to focus global attention to blindness and vision impairment.

History of World Sight Day

The SightFirst Campaign of Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) originated the event in 1988. Ever since Helen Keller inspired Lions to champion the cause in 1925, LCIF has served and advocated for the blind and visually impaired.  They are now one of many organizations worldwide that take part in the event. Today, it is co-sponsored by The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  The IAPB coordinates World Sight Day under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative.

This year’s event is the seventh annual World Sight Day under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative at the direction of IAPB and WHO. The goal of all World Sight Day partners is to prevent avoidable blindness and improve quality of life for people who are blind and visually impaired. This year’s call to action is Vision First.  

The goals, as set forth by IAPB, for World Sight Day are:

  • Raise public awareness of blindness & vision impairment as major international public health issues
  • Influence Governments/Ministers of Health to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programs
  • Educate target audiences about blindness prevention, about VISION 2020 and to generate support for VISION 2020 program activities

By the Numbers

The numbers are staggering but have improved slightly since 1990. Most cases of vision impairment are avoidable if given the proper care.  The following statistics are taken from both LCIF and IAPB.

  • 253 million people are blind or have moderate to severe distance vision impairment (MSVI)
  • 1 billion have near-vision impairment simply because they don’t have a pair of glasses
  • >75% of all blindness and MSVI is avoidable
  • 89% of people with visual impairment live in developing countries
  • 55% of moderate or severely vision impaired people are women
  • The prevalence of blindness and vision impairment combined has dropped from 4.58% in 1990 to 3.37% in 2015.

To look at a visual representation of statistics and/or to view statistics projected through 2020 check out IAPB’s Vision Atlas.

Ways to Save Your Sight

Make sure you go for regular eye exams.  Enhanced vision states that early, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential for preventing avoidable blindness and preserving sight. Regular comprehensive exams from an eye care professional can help detect signs and symptoms of many sight-robbing diseases.  Before you head to your exam learn about any family history of vision problems. Many preventable vision problems run in families.  You must also take all medications as prescribed.

For minor eye corrections reading glasses may be purchased over the counter. One example of a new, distinctive, fashionable high-quality line of reading glasses that are worn high on the nose are the Boca Linear Reading Glasses.

WebMD points out that good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. A well-balanced diet also helps you stay at a healthy weight. That lowers your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.

It’s also a good idea to either limit electronic screen time or use safety equipment to help prevent eye glare and strain. The Reticare 17.3″ Universal Laptop Eye Protector is an example of such a device. This eye protector not only protects the screen of your electronic device, it protects your eyes from glare and toxic light emanating from the display of your device.

Lastly, as shared previously, it’s important to  use adequate lighting in everything that you do to help prevent eye strain and glare. This 24 Watt Better Vision Floor Lamp by OttLite is a perfect example of lighting that adjusts to your needs. This lamp emits a very “natural” 24 watts of light, which reduces glare and increases contrast. A weighted base gives it stability, and its flexible top section allows you to position the light exactly where you need it. The height of the lamp can be adjusted between 4 and 5 feet.

For more options to make every day living more accessible and carefree please visit independent living aids, LLC.

 

 

 

 

 

Look Your Best

Looking your best not only applies to what you wear and the confidence you have about yourself but also in how you prepare yourself prior to getting dressed. Learning to navigate basic hygiene tasks while visually impaired or blind doesn’t have to be daunting if you learn and familiarize yourself with a few basic tips and techniques.

Hair

There are two very different basic hygiene tasks when it comes to hair. One is keeping it clean and the other is shaving it off. Both can be important when trying to look your best.

Knowing if you’re picking up a bottle of shampoo or conditioner has just gotten easier with one line of products. According to Allure, Herbal Essence has done a total redesign for the packaging of the brand’s Bio:Renew line of botanical shampoos and conditioners. The redesigned shampoo bottles will feature a row of raised lines on the bottom of the back of the bottle — “S” for shampoo — while the conditioner bottles will have two rows of raised dots in the same place with a “C” for reference.

Shaving doesn’t have to be any harder than shampooing. VisionAware states, “Many people consider shaving to be a personal grooming task that is potentially dangerous for someone who is blind or has low vision. In everyday practice, however, the skill is not dangerous at all. Many of the skills and techniques involved in shaving do not rely upon vision and may only require basic safety adaptations and closer attention to tactile feedback.”

Your basic shaving supplies should include a razor, shaving cream or lotion, after-shave, a washcloth, and a towel. Wash the area to be shaved with soap and water and pat dry. This will soften the hair making it easier to shave cleanly and safely.  Shaving cream will protect your skin and help you better locate the areas you’ve already shaved. A popular razor with our customers is the Norelco Triple Head Electric Shaver.  If you are partially sighted you might find it useful to utilize a magnified mirror such as the 10X LED Lighted Travel and Home Mirror.  Lightweight, foldable and just what you need at home and when you travel – a lighted, 10X distortion free glass mirror with bright lights surrounding it. Cover folds back and mirror becomes self-standing for hands-free viewing.

Skin

More and more companies are incorporating braille into their products’ packaging. One of the first to do so was L’Occitane. In the 1990s, founder Olivier Baussan noticed a blind customer in a store feeling the bottles to get familiar with the product. He started putting braille on the company’s packaging in 1997. About 70 per cent of L’Occitane products now come with braille labelling. An article by the Unseen Blogger looks at five L’Occitane products that she personally tried including; shea light comforting face cream, verbena foaming bath soak, lavender relaxing roll-on, shea butter hand cream, and almond shower oil. She provides the pros and cons, as well as, links to the aforementioned products.

Beauty is Within discusses a new makeup line by Visionary Cosmetics designed for the blind and visually impaired. Visionary Cosmetics offers a wide range of makeup and beauty products including eyeshadow, lipsticks and glosses, highlighters, makeup remover, and more. The website is fully accessible, so shopping is very easy for those without sight. In addition, the buyer has a choice of braille or large print on every product.

If your vision is limited, a useful tool when doing eye makeup is the 3X Makeup Magnifying Glasses.  Flip the magnifying lens away from the eye you are putting eyeliner or mascara on and look through the 3X magnifying lens covering the other eye.

Nails

Keeping your nails clean and fungus free is an essential part of good hygiene and a great finishing touch towards looking your best. You should clean your nails daily. Scrub your nails with a pumice stone or soft scrubbing brush, warm water, and soap.

Trimming your nails is also important to keep them in shape. If you have loss of vision and just need a little help in seeing where you’re clipping this 2X Magnifying Nail Clipper could be just what you need. For someone who is totally blind it is recommended to feel where the clippers are touching and to clip a little at a time in a slight upward angle.  Sam, from The Blind Life, both talks his way through and shows you a nail clipping technique in this video. Commenters were quick to note that there is really no necessity to go outside to do this if you’re able to sweep up behind yourself.  If you’re worried about cutting too much off, you can also use a nail file to both smooth any rough edges and to further trim the length down.

Want to add color to your nails? Cold nail polish or a nail polish pen are the best ways to apply color to your freshly cleaned nails.  It’s advisable to plan ahead and put the nail polish in the fridge for at least two hours prior to using it. Alternatively, you may find it easier just to keep the nail polish in the fridge at all times. The cold nail polish is easier to feel and makes it less likely to paint outside of the nail area. Nail polish remover on a cotton swap may be applied around the cuticles of each nail to remove any potential smudges.

Looking for other items to make your life easier and more carefree? Be sure to check out the other great products offered at independent living aids, LLC.

Mobility at Home

Whether you’re able bodied, dealing with a chronic illness or disease, have aged not quite as gracefully as you had hoped or through an unfortunate injury everyone wants to be able to have the freedom and mobility to get around their own homes.  This blog will focus on making the living room, bathroom, and bedroom safer, more mobility friendly, and help lessen the chances of accidents occurring.

The Living Room

Chances are the living room is one of the very first rooms upon entering a house.  Our living rooms are where we go to relax and unwind or socialize with family and friends. Carpet and rugs in this common area may be problematic if there are wheelchair, canes, or walker considerations. Consider changing to tiled, hardwood, or laminate flooring. Make sure there is some traction on the floor as surfaces can easily become slippery when using canes, crutches, or some shoes. Keeping clutter at a minimum in all walkways is another important step to take.

Next is the living room furniture. It should be welcoming and not overly jumbled together creating a risk of bumping into things or even falling. Replacing your furniture may be out of the question but there are things you can obtain and utilize to make your current furniture more user friendly. One option would be to buy a set of furniture risers if it is difficult to rise from a seated position. Another option, that can be transferred between rooms, is the SafetySure StandEase which looks a bit like a backwards walker. This lightweight device makes getting up or sitting down easier with the sturdy bars to grasp on to. Plus, it can easily go with you whenever you find yourself traveling or on the go.

The Bathroom

Bathrooms are hot spots for falls and injuries. Fortunately, many bathroom safety measures are simple and inexpensive. WebMD offers an article on home safety tips for persons with limited mobility. Most of these tips are taken from that article.

  • Don’t rush in the bathroom. Hurrying can make you less careful. It’s important not to wait too long before going to the bathroom.
  • Install skid-free mats. Low-pile, non-skid bathmats can prevent falls on wet and slippery floors. Non-slip mats or appliqués are also helpful in the tub or shower.
  • Put in extra seating. If your bathroom is big enough, put a sturdy chair by the sink so you can brush your teeth and groom yourself while seated. Shower chairs, such as the Deluxe Bath Bench with Back, are a great option whether you have a tub or an open shower to help keep you safe while keeping clean.
  • Don’t bend and stretch. Instead, put in a bath organizer, shelf, or wall-mounted dispenser for shampoo, conditioner, and liquid soap. A long-handled scrub brush makes it easier to wash feet, legs, and other hard-to-reach places. A standing toilet paper holder can help if it’s difficult to reach a wall-mounted holder.
  • Make it easy to get up. A toilet seat riser or toilet safety rails (with or without a toilet seat) are helpful if you have trouble getting up or down from the toilet. A grab bar or two next to the toilet is another option.

For more suggestions on mobility aids for the bathroom or to purchase check out ila’s bathroom aids.

The Bedroom

If possible, keep your bedroom on the main level of your living quarters. Climbing up and down stairs could pose an accident risk, especially if tired or having issues with your balance. Keep essentials next to your bed including any nighttime medications, drinking water, a flashlight, and a phone. If you frequently find yourself waking to use the bathroom at night a nightlight is an inexpensive aid to help you find your way.

One of the simplest ways to make a bedroom more comfortable is to look at choosing a bed that fits your needs. According to This Caring Home, Falls around the bed area are common. The bed may be too soft or not at a good transfer height. It could be that your mind wants to get in or out of bed but your body refuses or the other way around. One mobility aid that could assist in the case of balance issues or weak muscles is the SafetySure Bed Pull-Up. It easily attaches to the bottom of the bedframe and has eight, equally spaced, cushioned handles allowing you to rise at your own pace.

Finally, one last tip from the WebMD article.  When it comes to getting dressed, sitting in a sturdy armchair to dress and undress can be more stable than sitting on a bed or standing. And you can use the arms to steady yourself when you sit down, reach, or stand up. Use a long-handled shoehorn to put on shoes without bending over. A dressing stick – essentially a stick with a hook at the end – can help you pull on pants or skirts, take off socks, and reach clothes that are hung up high.  To purchase these type of mobility aids or to browse more options see dressing aids.