Impacting an incredible number of Americans, vision impairment is as varied as the individuals who experience it – from simply needing to don a pair of reading glasses to skim through the morning paper, to total blindness. And it’s even more common in older adults, with one out of every three seniors over age 65 experiencing some form of eye disease that impacts vision, such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, among others. Thankfully, much like so many other challenging conditions, technology continues to explode with choices to improve wellbeing for those experiencing vision problems. Just take a quick look at some of the vision enhancement tools that are currently available:
- Be My Eyes. This incredible app connects sighted volunteers with individuals with low vision or blindness, and literally allows them to see, through the person’s phone, all sorts of immediate needs – like checking expiration dates of food or affirming that an outfit matches. And, “It’s being used for some amazing things,” according to Alexander Jensen, Be My Eyes’ Community Director. “We received a message from a woman who said she used a Be My Eyes volunteer to check on her wedding dress for any stains before the ceremony started.”
- Seeing AI. A more recently released application, Seeing AI also utilizes a sight-impaired person’s phone, allowing for identification of an individual to whom the camera is directed, including recognition of the individual’s facial expressions to pick up on feelings and mood. It also can scan barcodes to recognize items (with an audible alert as soon as the camera is close to a barcode), verify denominations of currency, and a multitude of other functions, even without an Internet connection.
- RoboCane. This really is no ordinary white cane! Built with a computer, microphone and 3-D camera, RoboCane can identify obstacles and supply voice prompts to let a user know what’s ahead. It can also guide its user through use of a motorized roller tip once floor plans of a particular route are loaded into its computer, as well as take verbal commands from the user and provide audio feedback through a wireless earphone.
Home Sweet Home In-Home Care can help improve wellbeing for anyone with a vision impairment through safe, trusted transportation and accompaniment to outings, help with household chores and personal care tasks, and even more. Contact us any time at 269-849-9252 for a free in-home consultation to find out more about our Portage in home care services for seniors!