Simple Alerts for the Phone

If you are hearing impaired, choosing an alerting system for your phone doesn’t have to be complicated. There are several simple alerting options that are easy to use and easy on the budget.

Devices that Ring Loudly

If you have some hearing, one option is to find a phone amplifier. Amplifiers make your phone ring louder. Our Audible Ring Signaling Device by Clarity offers an adjustable loud ringer and includes an adjustable ringing tone. This is helpful because sometimes the tone is as important as the volume in determining whether or not you can detect the sound. And the Audible Ring is powered by the phone line, so no batteries are needed.

Devices that Flash

If you only need a visual signal, you can choose a basic flashing alert, like the Phone Strobe Flasher. This compact strobe light has a powerful flash that will let you know when your telephone or TTY is ringing.

The strobe is easy to install and is powered by the phone line, so no batteries are needed. It will work with any analog phone and measures 3.25 x 2 x 1.25 inches.

Devices That Vibrate

But what if you’re deaf, and you’re not looking at your phone to see the flash? Phone alerts that vibrate solve that problem. Ditto is a wearable cell phone alert clip that allows you to feel your phone from 50 to 100 feet away. Ditto notifies you to calls, texts, emails, alarms and calendar updates.

You will also never lose or leave your phone behind because Ditto is electronically tethered to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It will vibrate to alert you that you are forgetting your phone.

If that sounds like too much information coming in, Ditto also comes along with an app you can download onto your iPhone or Android device. It allows you to customize the program with the exact notifications you would like to receive.

Combo Systems

Some of the most common phone alerts combine two or three features to cover all their bases. One of the best combo alerts we carry is the AmpliCALL10. When your telephone rings, this telephone ringer indicator will ring very loudly and flash to let you know there is an incoming call.

If that’s not enough, A CLA2 shaker pad can be plugged into the AmpliCALL10. When the phone rings, the pad vibrates. This is an ideal solution for heavy sleepers who are expecting important telephone calls at night.

One of the most affordable options we carry is the Loud Ringer Light Box FC-5683-2. It rings at up to 95dB and has a bright LED alerting light. Once again, no batteries or AC adapter are required because the device is line powered.

Other Considerations

When choosing an alerting system for your phone, you first need to decide what type of sensory alert you need- louder sounds, bright lights, or vibration. Beyond that, you want to consider whether or not you want the device to be part of a larger alert system, or if you want it to be stand-alone.

Also, you’ll need to understand the difference between digital and analog phones and what type of system works with each one. Some products, like the Serene Central Alert Home/Cell Phone Sensor-Transmitter can actually be connected to your landline and your cell phone with the help of a smartphone cradle.


Whatever combinations you need or considerations you have, ILA has a product that will work for you. Check out our variety of telephone amplifiers and ringers here.

Alert Devices For Those With Hearing Impairments

Before the days of technology, many people with hearing impairments had to rely on family and friends for their safety and connectivity to the rest of the world. As technology has evolved, it has made life much easier for everyone, including those with hearing impairments.

According to Healthyhearing.com, “Today there are assistive listening devices, hearing aids, FM systems, infrared systems, captioning and amplification devices that help people communicate with others, hear the sounds of everyday life and enjoy entertainment when they otherwise would have a difficult time due to hearing loss.” All of these devices use one or more types of signals such as light, sound, and vibration.

What Type of Alert Devices Are Available

There are many different types of alerting devices available, however some of the most frequently used are alarm clocks, doorbells, smoke detectors and indicators on phones. Parents can also use pagers to be notified if their infant is crying. Some of the alerting features on these devices include:

  • Alarm clocks can be set up with a flashing light, a loud horn or a gentle vibration to wake the sleeper.
  • A flashing light on the doorbell will notify people in the home when guests arrive.
  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms will use vibration and flashing lights to notify those in the home who may not have their hearing aids in.
  • Flashing light indicators or adjustable ringers can be added to analog phones to let owners know someone is calling. Portable versions of the flashing indicators are available so they can be strategically placed throughout a home or apartment.
  • Pagers are a great alert device and can be worn on the clothing or kept in your pocket. They can be programmed to whatever type of notification you would like to receive. They can vibrate when your phone is ringing or when someone arrives at your home. They can also notify parents or caretakers of young children crying. Some of these devices can even analyze the cry and determine whether the baby is hungry, bored, or sleepy and will light up an appropriate image.
  • Weather alert radios can be used by themselves or with other alerting accessories like strobes or bed-shakers. These are great for people with hearing loss because many times they cannot hear the rumble of thunder or crack of lightning. In addition to that, this will also be great for those who don’t watch TV or listen to the radio. The weather alert radios will give their owners warning that they may not receive any other way.
  • Finally, with the advancement of technology, companies have begun to develop a discreet bracelet, which is worn on the wrist. It can notify you for up to six things such as a phone ringing or fire alarm going off. There are little gills on the inside of the bracelet that move, and lights on the outside that light up to catch your attention.

As Technology continues to advance, there is no doubt we will begin to see more and more alert systems developed for those with hearing loss and impairment. Independent Living Aids will be there every step of the way, to help you through your journey.

 

ILA has a variety of alerting systems to meet every need. Check out our inventory and find what might work best for you!

 

This blog was written by contributing author Sarah Bowman, Owner of Sarah Bowman Assisting.

 

How Using Bluetooth Can Help You In Everyday Life

Have you been hearing about Bluetooth for a while but you’re not really sure what it is or how it works? No need to fret, we want to explain not only what it is, but how it can be used to enhance your everyday life.

Before we begin, let’s answer the question, “What is Bluetooth?” Bluetooth is short range interconnection between mobile phones, computers, and other electronic devices. It can be used to transfer documents, transmit music and track your daily progress from the simple touch of a button.

How Does Bluetooth Work

Initially, setting up Bluetooth can be a bit confusing if you aren’t used to it. You will want to make sure that the image shown below is listed on both of the devices that you would like to connect. If they are, you are good to go! All you will need to do is click on that button on each device. They should begin to search for devices nearby that have their Bluetooth turned on to connect to. On some devices they will ask if you would like to connect, on others they will connect automatically.  

Once you have connected the two devices, you will be able to begin sharing information between the two devices. A couple of great examples of this are the popular Apple iPhone and iWatch. They are connected via Bluetooth so that you are basically wearing your phone on your wrist. Another great example is a diabetic monitor with Bluetooth capabilities. You’re able to connect it to the app on your smartphone and track your current readings. This will help you to not only keep track of what your blood sugars have been, but it can also aid your doctor in finding an appropriate treatment plan for you.

How Can I Use Bluetooth in My Day to Day Life?

As I mentioned previously, you can use Bluetooth in almost every area of your life, when it comes to technology.

One of the ways you can use Bluetooth is to connect it as a hands-free device. You can connect your smartphone to your car (if your vehicle has this capability), which will allow you to keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road as you speak to family and friends. Not only can you create a hands-free connection in your car, but you can also create a hands-free connection using something similar to this Beetle H-3ST H Speech Bluetooth headset as you run errands or walk around the house.

Another way you can use Bluetooth within your own home is to connect it between two devices with Bluetooth capabilities such as portable speakers to your cell phone, attach your mouse or keyboard to your computer, or you can even use it to control some of your more high-tech home security gadgets. Connecting these items via Bluetooth saves the mess of having cords everywhere, and gives you control, right from your smartphone.

Like most technologies, Bluetooth makes your life easier because it saves you the time and hassle of having to do things manually (i.e. tracking blood sugars and writing them down). As you begin to use Bluetooth and become comfortable with it, you will find that the possibilities of how you can use it will be endless.

This article was written by Sarah Bowman.

ILA has a variety of Bluetooth devices  to meet every need. Check out our inventory and find what might work best for you!

 

Tips and Tricks to Having Your Best Eye Health Now

Being a woman is a beautiful, yet challenging thing. In many cases, we are the primary caretaker for our families, and it is up to us to make most of the medical decisions. Because of this, we are focused on the needs of our spouse and kids and leave ourselves neglected. That is why The National Eye Institute is reminding women during the month of May to make their eye health a priority.  Here are a few tips and tricks to having your best eye health now.

Schedule Your Routine Eye Exam

While this seems simple enough, this easy step often gets overlooked. We get so wrapped up in the day-to-day of our busy lives that it is easy to forget to schedule your routine preventative exams.  Everyone needs to see the eye doctor on a regular basis- including children.

It will not only help you to see the best you possibly can, but it also helps to find diseases that often don’t have symptoms, like glaucoma.

A great way to make sure you are completing your routine exams is to pick a month out of the year that works best for you. Schedule as many of your routine exams as you can within that month. Do the same for your family. You could even make a day out of it.

Staying on top of your routine eye exam will ensure that if anything does come up you will be able to catch it sooner rather than later.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

One of the best ways to keep your eyes in tip-top shape is to eat a healthy diet and exercise daily. Things like drinking enough water, making sure you’re getting in 30 minutes of exercise a day and eating your leafy greens will keep your mind, body, and even your eyes, running at full capacity.  

Eating foods full of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamins C and E can help to push off diseases like macular degeneration. For example, fill your plate with things like spinach and kale, salmon, tuna, eggs, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, oysters or pork. Sticking to a well-balanced diet helps you to stay a healthier weight and will lower your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes.

Wash Your Hands Frequently and Don’t Rub Your Eyes!

If you are not already in the habit of washing your hands frequently, you should really make an effort to do so. Our hands are exposed to dirt, dust, and bacteria all throughout our day. These can easily be transferred to your eyes each time you touch or rub them.

Protect Your Eyes From the Sun and Elements

Wearing a good pair of sunglasses can help protect your eyes from the harsh UV rays that our gorgeous sun emits. Too much UV exposure can increase your chances of cataracts, macular degeneration, and corneal sunburn

When you are shopping for those cute new shades like these, make sure that they block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses will help to protect your eyes from the sides, and polarized lenses reduce glare while you drive.

Stop Smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for our lungs, but did you know it’s also bad for our eyes? Smoking makes it more likely for you to get cataracts, damage to your optic nerve, and macular degeneration. Not only that, but the smoke itself can become an eye irritant. If you are currently a smoker, consider stopping. Reach out to your doctor if you need assistance.

Look Away From Screens

As our world has evolved, we now have screens for everything. While the advances in technology are great and have made life more enjoyable, they have also caused a lot of eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches for many people. So how can we protect our eyes from the negative side effects of constant screen usage?

  • Make sure that your glasses/contact prescription are up-to-date.
  • If your eye strain doesn’t go away, talk to your doctor about computer glasses.  
  • You can also adjust your screen so that your eyes are level with the top of your monitor. This will let you look slightly down at the screen.
  • Avoid glare on your screen from lights and windows. You can always purchase an anti-glare screen.
  • If you feel like your eyes are getting dry from staring at the screen, blink more.

 

ILA has a variety of sunglasses to meet every need. Check out our inventory and find what might work best for you!

This article was written by Sarah Bowman

Sources:

https://www.preventblindness.org/five-things-women-need-know-about-eye-health

https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/good-eyesight

https://www.arizonaretinalspecialists.com/blog/12-ways-to-take-care-of-your-eyes-everyday/

The Foundation Fighting Blindness

This weekend, the Foundation Fighting Blindness VisionWalk comes to Buffalo, our hometown. We could not be more excited to have them here and to support such an amazing cause. In our blog this week, we would like to share a little bit more information about this incredible non-profit organization.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness began in 1971 under the leadership of Gordon and Llura Gund and Ben and Beverly Berman. Little was known at the time about what led to blindness. However, the goal was clear: they wanted to drive the research that would lead to preventions, treatments, and vision restoration for the degenerative retinal diseases.  

How Is The Funding Spent?

In an effort to achieve their goal, the Foundation has raised over 725 million dollars dedicated to finding treatments that will reverse blindness and restore vision. It has become the world’s leading private funder of retinal disease research.

Funding from the Foundation has been used to identify more than 250 genes linked to retinal disease and has launched 20 clinical trials that could lead to potential treatments and cures.

Not only that, the Foundation (in conjunction with the Foundations Clinical Research Institute) funds more than 100 grants annually. These research programs are conducted by research investigators at institutions, eye hospitals and universities from all over the world.

The types of grants that are funded for innovative and cutting-edge research in the following areas: genetics, gene and stem-cell therapies, retinal cell transplantation and pharmaceutical and nutritional therapies. They have found that their funding has become the “critical bridge between discovery research, proof of concept, and corporate investment in clinical trials and commercialization.”

The Foundation works with commercial entities (i.e., pharmaceutical companies) to develop new compounds (potential drug treatments) for retinal degenerative diseases. If the outcomes of the research are positive and supported, the Foundation’s Clinical Research Institute will work with those companies to make viable commercial products for patients.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness truly believes in fighting retinal diseases and giving back through their research and educational programs. On average, the Foundation invests approximately 75% of their budget in research and public health education programs.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness VisionWalk

The Foundation Fighting Blindness VisionWalk is a signature fundraising event that has raised over 45 million dollars since its inception. It began in 2006, as a way of raising additional funds for sight-saving research.

The Foundation is accredited charity by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. It is a nation-wide walk that is open to anyone who would like to participate. You can sign up for the walk as an individual or gather a group of friends or co-workers and sign up as a team, here.

They have several walks already scheduled across the country, so check out their website and find the walk nearest to you. If you would like to donate to the Foundation Fighting Blindness but are unable to attend a VisionWalk, please click here. The link will take you directly to the Foundation Fighting Blindness donation page.

ILA has a variety of vision aides to meet every need. Check out our inventory and find what might work best for you!

Source: www.blindness.org

This article has been written by Sarah Bowman

 

 

3 Ways to Improve Your Eyesight

Today we spend most of our time looking at some form of screen. Whether it’s a computer, smartphone, tablet or TV, our eyes are straining daily. As our population continues to age, we will continue to see an increase in vision problems. We can work to combat this, however, by eating healthy, exercising our eyes and most importantly giving our eyes some much need rest.

Eat for Your Eyes

There is no doubt that we have all been told at one point or another to “eat your vegetables because they are good for you.” While we agree with this, you can take your healthy eating up a notch by eating an eye-healthy diet. You can do this by eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods that are full of Vitamins A, C, and E and minerals such as copper and Zinc. All of these are essential to eyesight. Foods such as dark leafy greens, egg yolks, yellow peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and carrots are all great options to consume daily. The more color on your plate, the better!

Your Eyes Need Exercise Too!

We all know that we need to exercise our bodies to maintain a healthy weight and keep our insides happy. But what about our eyes? They need exercise too! Nothing too strenuous of course, you can do them anywhere. They will help you to maintain optimal vision. These exercises should be completed first thing in the morning, before you go to bed, or anytime they feel fatigued. Like anything, if you would like to see success, you have to commit to doing them daily.

  • Exercise #1: Warm your eyes up; Rub your palms together to create heat, place them against your eyes for five seconds, repeat three times.
  • Exercise #2: Roll your eyes. Start by looking up and then slowly circle 10 times clockwise and then 10 times counterclockwise.
  • Exercise #3: Focus. Hold a pen at arm’s length, focus your eyes on it and slowly bring the pen closer until it’s about 6 inches away from your nose. Then slowly move it back, keeping your eyes focused on the pen, repeat 10 times.
  • Exercise #4: Massage your temples. Using your thumb knuckles, massage your temples in small circles: 20 times in one direction, 20 times in the other. Repeat the same motions above the midpoint of the eyebrows at the forehead, and below the eyes on both sides of the bridge of your nose.
  • Exercise #5: Take a mini-nap. Lay your head back, close your eyes and relax for 3 minutes.

Committing to doing these exercises daily will help you to strengthen the muscles in your eyes and help improve your vision. You will need to give this some time, but you according to Dr. Mao Shing Ni, L.A.C., D.O.M, PhD you should begin seeing results after just one month.

Give Your Eyes some R&R

What can you do to give your eyes some much-needed rest? Take breaks from your screen! For example, every 50 minutes you spend looking at your screen, you should be spending the other 10 looking away, focusing on something else. Also, make sure that you are getting your full 8 hours of sleep at night. A good night’s rest is essential to optimal eye health. It gives your eyes the time to rest, repair and recover leaving you ready for the next day.  

These are just a few of the ways that you can work to improve your eyesight. Remember that change doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, but if you work at it day after day, you will hopefully begin to see some results.

 

ILA has a variety of eye magnifiers to meet every need. Check out our inventory and find what might work best for you!

 

Don’t Let Limited Mobility Keep You From Enjoying The Outdoors: Consider These Three Mobility Devices

When the weather starts to warm up, and you have the perfect balance of sun and cool breeze, it makes it hard to say inside. Getting outdoors to enjoy the sights, sounds, and fresh air can lift your spirits as well as give you a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

But if you have limited mobility, you may be hesitant to get out and about. The fear of falling or not being able to navigate certain surfaces can cause you to resign yourself to staying inside.

That’s why a variety of different mobility aids have been invented. The benefits outweigh any reservations you may have about using a piece of medical equipment. Mobility aids can give you more independence. They reduce the risk of injury from falling or overusing a body part. They reduce fatigue and pain. And they increase your confidence as they allow you to continue to do things on your own.

Canes

Canes are a good choice for someone who needs just a bit of support on a temporary or even regular basis. Since canes are a one-sided solution, they are best for people who may have a problem with one particular foot, knee, leg, or hip.

Canes can prevent your arthritis or injury from worsening by keeping weight off of and reducing stress to the affected area. They can also prevent falls by helping you maintain balance.

Some people overuse the opposite part of their body when trying to avoid using a painful area. In this case, using a cane can help you prevent injury to the “good” limb when you try to compensate and shift your weight.

Rollators

Rollators provide a medium amount of support, and they are incredibly versatile. Most people don’t realize how well rollators are equipped for going outside. They are easy to transport and can usually be folded up and thrown in the back of a car. But despite being lightweight and space conscious, the rollator has substantial wheels that are great for navigating outdoor terrain.

Another benefit of the rollator that many people don’t think about is that it often comes with a fold-down seating attachment. When adventuring around town or on a trip, the rollator’s seat makes the perfect place to sit and rest a spell. You’ll never have to push yourself too hard to find a place with seating where you can stop and take a break.

The only downside to a rollator is how easily it moves. If you need moderate support and want to be really active, the rollator is great. If you need a maximum amount of stability, the rollator may not be for you.

Traditional Walkers

Traditional walkers are the way to go when you need a maximum amount of support. They provide support for both sides of your body, and they aren’t likely to roll away from you if you lean into them too hard.

The traditional standard walker has four feet that rest on the floor, often covered with rubber tips. While the standard walker provides maximum support, that comes at a cost. Advancing the walker is more difficult because you must lift the entire walker off the ground with your arms, then put it back down. Traditional walkers don’t allow you to move with the ease and speed of canes and rollators.

One option is to get a walker that has two wheels on the front legs. This allows you to move the walker without having to lift the entire thing. It also makes walking faster. But, like anything with wheels, it increases the chance of you losing balance and allowing the device to slip away from you.

No matter what level of support you need, or what device you choose, don’t let your hesitancy to use a mobility aid keep you from enjoying the great outdoors. They don’t exist to give you the freedom and independence you deserve.

ILA carries a wide variety of canes, rollators, walkers, and other mobility aids. To get an idea of what device might suit you best, check out our products and descriptions under the “Mobility” category page.

Three Common Causes of Hearing Aid Damage

Hearing aids are sensitive pieces of equipment that can be damaged easily. The best way to keep your hearing aids in good working order is to take care of them according to manufacturer’s recommendations and to clean them regularly using approved methods.

But what are some common causes of hearing aid damage? Surely they can’t come in contact with too many dangerous substances while nestled safely in your ear. The fact is, you may be surprised at a few of the things we have on our list.

Earwax In The Tubing

Earwax (also called cerumen) can damage your hearing aids both temporarily and permanently. When earwax builds up in the tubes and holes in your hearing aid, then it is unable to transfer sound. The wax blocks the sound from getting through. When this happens, your listening experience may seem muffled.

A little earwax is an easy fix. Regular cleaning with the appropriate tools can help clear the tubes and keep your hearing aid working to the best of its ability. However, if earwax is allowed to remain in the hearing aid for too long, it can eventually cause permanent damage.

Earwax that works its way farther into the device can damage sensitive electronic parts. This is not just because of its gummy texture. The chemical composition of earwax includes salt and corrosive body acids.

Cleaning With Water

Moisture is one of the worst things you can expose your hearing aids to, and that includes during the cleaning process. Cleaning hearing aids with water is generally not a good idea.

Many people are used to just washing things off when they get dirty. But a hearing aid is not like a pair of glasses or a stained tie. Hearing aids should be treated more like stereo equipment. Just as earwax can damage the electronic components of your device, so can water.

Batteries can also be ruined by water, and if they get wet, they should just be thrown away. However, sometimes there are a few outer parts of a hearing aid you can carefully wash with water. If you think this is the case, check your care manual and follow its instructions to the letter.  

Never Removing Your Hearing Aid

It may be frustrating not to be able to hear well, but there are times when you must remove your hearing aid to keep from damaging it. Here are a few activities that may ruin your device.

  • Taking a shower or going swimming- these two activities would introduce water into the hearing aid, causing the damage and corrosion we just talked about.
  • Blow drying your hair- Blow dryers create high, targeted heat. This heat can damage or even melt components in your hearing aid.
  • Using hairspray or spray sunscreen- Like with drying your hair, if you must use hairspray, finish your beauty routine before inserting your hearing aids. Hairspray can clog up the tubes and holes in your hearing aid. And it’s tough to clean out! Sunscreen also creates a greasy, gummy, microphone-blocking mess.

The best way to keep your hearing aids undamaged and in good shape is to follow manufacturer instructions, keep them away from excess moisture and heat, and maintain them regularly using approved tools and cleaning solutions.

ILA has several products to help keep your hearing aids in great shape, including this hearing aid maintenance kit. It comes with cleaning tools as well as a battery tester and is small enough to carry in your pocket.

Reading Resources and Technology for the Visually Impaired

This week is National Library Week, so what better time to take a look at the reading resources and technology for the visually impaired. Whether you prefer to buy the latest technology and create a personal collection of books, or you are looking for free resources to borrow, there are plenty of options to help you enjoy both educational and recreational literature.

The National Library Service

According to the Library of Congress website, the “National Library Service (NLS) is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page.”

The NLS offers books in braille and audio format. Libraries across the country cooperate to deliver free downloads or postage-paid hard copies of books and magazines. You have to register for this free library service, but once you do, you have access to all of their programs. For those who are unable to read large print or handle print materials, the library will also send loaner playback equipment for the audio materials.

Books For Digital Readers

Whether you borrow a digital reader from the library or decide to buy your own, you’ll find that this little piece of technology can open up a whole new world of recreational or educational reading.

Readers like the Milestone 212 Ace Book Reader can read aloud National Library Service (NLS), Audible.com, and DAISY downloaded books. It can also retain and play MP3, WAV WMA and iTunes AAC audio files.

Digital readers are convenient because they fit in the palm of your hand. If you enjoy using traditional “books-on-tape” you’ll love the convenience of a digital reader. You will no longer be confined to listening in your car or near a full-sized player or stereo. As the weather is changing, you’ll find digital readers are very convenient to take to the beach or on other outings.

To find out what new books are available for digital readers, you can check out Talking Book Topics. This resource lists the latest audio books and magazines that have been added to the library’s collection within the past two months.

Braille Copies

Braille copies of books, magazines, and even musical scores are also available. The Braille Book Review lists the newest titles and selections.

Certain books and magazines are deliverable in hard copy, while others are only available through ebraille.

The NLS explains ebraille like this, “On a computer, downloaded ebraille (electronic braille) materials can be embossed or read with a refreshable braille display. Users must have a braille display, braille-aware device, or braille embosser to read ebraille files. Ebraille materials are available in contracted and uncontracted format and can be downloaded by individual volume or in a ZIP file containing all volumes of the book (or parts of the magazine).”

If you are not sure how to access these services, here is the contact information from the NLS website: To get books if you live in the United States or its territories, contact your local braille and talking book library. Find a Library or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323) to be connected with the library serving your area. If you are unable to locate a library or wish additional assistance, please contact NLS via nls@loc.gov, call (202) 707-5100 or toll-free 1-800-424-8567, or request an application packet be mailed to you.

ILA has a large selection of NLS readers, recorders, and players. If you are looking for the latest technology in digital readers, check out what we have to offer!

Save Money!: Three Tips for Senior Adults

Many people eagerly look forward to retirement as a time to get to enjoy some of the activities they had to put off when they were working nine to five. But the majority also have some concerns about finances. Without that regular paycheck, the budget may get tighter.

Despite government benefits and 401(k)s, their new income may not feel completely comfortable. That’s why we’ve found three ways that senior adults can save money, both in the immediate and long-term.

Senior Discounts

As the baby boomers continue to age up into retirement, many companies have been reexamining and revamping their senior discount policy. Some are improving their programs while others are cutting their benefits.

Another thing that can be confusing from store to store is that while some stores have store-wide policies, others allow each location or franchise to make their own decisions. So while you may think a particular store doesn’t offer a discount, it never hurts to ask at each location. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Senior discounts typically range from 5% to 20% off, with most being around 10%. This amount may seem small, but it can add up across the board, especially on consistent purchases. A 10% discount on groceries each week may afford you a recreational trip out to eat by the end of the month.

To get started on your quest for the best senior discounts, you can start with this compilation of 100+ stores from Brad’s List.

Stay Healthy

The advice to stay healthy may not seem that it belongs in an article of money saving tips, but avoiding health problems can make a huge dent in your budget. Not all conditions are avoidable by lifestyle change, but many can at least be improved upon. Improving your health will cut back on expenses for prescriptions and doctors visits

One way to stay healthy is by eating healthy meals. Home cooked is usually best, unless you are only cooking by eating processed foods in the microwave. When you cook at home, you can better control what ingredients go into your meals as well as your portion size. Eating natural foods and cutting back on excess sugar and salt can help control blood pressure and diabetes. Portion control will also help you manage your weight.

Exercising goes along with diet to reduce weight and improve physical health and fitness. Even if your activity is limited for health reasons, there are gentle range-of-motion exercises you can do to help with flexibility, strength, and balance. Improving these areas will reduce your chances of having an injury related to falls.

Don’t Make Quick Decisions

Making quick decisions can be the downfall of your budget. Most people know the dangers of impulse shopping. We’ve all stopped by the store for one item and come out with a basketful instead. Those types of purchases can really add up. But it’s not just impulse buying that can run up the bills.

You also need to think carefully before saying yes to extracurricular activities, charities, or parties that may incur extra expense. While you will want to spend time out with friends and family, participate in the local church drive, or go to that 50th wedding anniversary, accepting these types of invitations may come with a price tag for presents, food and transportation, or donations.

Before making any decisions, consider the overall possible expense and see if it fits into your budget. If not, you may have to politely decline, or at the very least offer to participate in a different manner. For example, if you can’t make donations to the local can drive, maybe you can volunteer to help collect donations or arrange the shelves.

ILA carries several products to help you keep your finances organized. Our Personal Financial Management Kit is one of the most popular for those with low vision.