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Top Tech Tips for Older People With Sight Loss

Background image is hands using a mobile phone with large print on the screen. There is also a cup of coffee on the table. Text: Tip Tech Tips for Older People with Sight Loss

Age-related eye conditions can pose huge difficulties for older people, making it difficult to manage at home, get out and about and enjoy leisure activities like reading. If you, or an older person in your life, is struggling with deteriorating eyesight, we have put together some recommendations for simple but effective assistive technology solutions that can help.  

  1. Lighting and trip hazards 

Before we get to our recommendations for technology, let’s think about some basics that might help at home. Make sure you have bright bulbs in areas like the stairs or darker spots like the hallway or landing. A gooseneck adjustable lamp that allows you to light the task you are working on, be it reading or writing a birthday card, can really make a difference.  

Ask your family, whether they live with you or are visiting, not to move things around, making it more difficult for you to find them.  

Think about trip hazards, like rugs, and remove any that could cause a problem.  

You will find lots more helpful information from your local sight loss society.  

2. Mobile phone 

Our phones are a lifeline and particularly so for an older person who may be struggling to get out and about independently as much as they used to. We have some simple phone solutions that might help.  

The Mini Vision 2 is an easy-to-use talking phone that allows you to use every feature of the phone. It also has large tactile buttons making it easy to see if you have low vision and you can use voice commands to place calls or send text messages.  

You can also choose a smartphone and with Synapptic you get a Samsung smartphone with specially-designed Synapptic software, giving you easy access to all the features of your phone. It will also adapt with you if your sight changes or deteriorates.  

3. Magnification 

No longer being able to read easily can be a real challenge. Audio books are a great solution for leisure reading but what about when you want to read a newspaper article, check a medicine package, look at photographs or read a bill? There is a large range of hand-held and hands-free video magnifiers that can help.  

The Ruby magnifier range allows you to take an image, zoom in, change colours and you can carry it easily in your pocket or handbag to use when out and about. There is a large selection within the range with different functions and features.  

4. Apps  

If you’re using a smartphone, there are a huge range of apps that can help, from navigation to identifying colours and objects. One that we want to highlight is Voxmate. With Voxmate, you can make calls, scan printed text, read news, listen to audiobooks, play games, chat on the Audio Forum and more with just four swipe gestures – up, down, left and right.  

5. Amazon Alexa 

Finally, there is also plenty of mainstream technology that can be really useful at home. Alexa is voice activated so you can ask it to turn on a particular radio station, listen to music, check the time, the weather, make lists, check your calendar and it can be connected to other devices around the home, such as your home heating hub, if you have one.