This information is provided by Macular
Degeneration Support at www.mdsupport.org. One printed copy
is permitted for personal use only.
What Can I Do To Keep Busy?
by Dan Roberts
Updated July 2005
One of the most common concerns of the vision-impaired is how to keep busy. People who are used to filling their days with lots of activities often find it difficult to replace those hours with things that don't require good eyesight.
I posed this problem to the people in our Internet community, and some wonderful ideas came of it. Here they are in no particular order, straight from men and women who have found ways to remain vital and productive in spite of their impaired vision. We hope you will benefit from our experience.
- Purchase descriptive videos, which include narration to accompany the movies. For information, contact Descriptive Video Service in Boston at 800-333-1203.
- Listen to broadcasts of magazines and newspapers from In Touch, a subsidiary of The Jewish Guild for the Blind. Membership is free for Medicaid recipients. For more information, call 800-456-3166 or go to www.intouchnetworks.org.
- Listen to National Public Radio. You can learn about it at www.npr.org.
- Listen to books and periodicals on tape. To find distributors, see this section on the MD Support web site: www.mdsupport.org/resources/tapebooks.html.
- While listening to those tapes, do something physical to stay in shape. Floor exercises, weight lifting, stretching, or yoga will improve your body while you entertain your mind.
- Enroll in low vision rehabilitation training for help in maximizing your capabilities. Medicare will usually pay for this. For information, contact your state's agency for the blind, which you can find at www.mdsupport.org/resources/agencies_us.html. MD Support also offers a video containing complete information about rehabilitation training for the vision-impaired. You can learn about it at www.mdsupport.org/video3.html.
- Join a live support group. To find one in your area, call your low vision specialist or contact one of your state agencies for the blind. You will find them listed at www.mdsupport.org/resources/agencies_us.html. If there isn't one near you, why not start one? MD Support will help. Contact Dan Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Join an email support group. MD Support hosts the largest on the Internet for people with macular degeneration and related diseases. It is called MDList, and you can find it at www.mdsupport.org/mdlist.html.
- Attend concerts, lectures, book readings, etc. Your church, parks department, or senior citizens group may offer group outings to events such as this.
- Start a garden.
- Take a class in water aerobics, meditation, or body conditioning.
- Become active in your church.
- Tape record your life history for your grandchildren.
- Take classes in Braille. It will open up a whole new world to you. For more information on this and other long-distance courses offered by the Hadley School for the Blind, go to www.hadley-school.org.
- Ride a tandem bike or go canoeing with your spouse or a friend.
- Learn to play a musical instrument by ear. You can learn online or purchase lessons on tapes at www.maximummusician.com.
- Cook and bake. It may take longer than it used to, so be patient and enjoy the moment.
- Go for walks with other people or a pet.
- Do large-print word search puzzles and crosswords. If you want to play online, go to google.com and type "crossword puzzle" or "crossword" in the search box. You'll find lots of them!
- Do jigsaw puzzles. You can find puzzles to play on your computer at www.brainsbreaker.com. (There is a one-time fee to download the program.)
- The AARP has a web site with several free games you can play, including crosswords and jigsaw puzzles, and they change often. You can find them at www.aarpmagazine.org/games.
- You can learn about eye anatomy, retinal treatments, and nutrition, and have fun at the same time by playing the MD Support crossword puzzles at www.mdsupport.org/test_entrance.html. If you do well, you can even earn an honorary degree!
- Play bingo using large print cards.
- Purchase a CD that identifies bird songs. It's a perfect way to continue enjoying "bird watching."
- When traveling, play CDs of music relating to that area/country. Replay it later to remind yourself of the trip without having to view pictures.
- Like golf? You don't have to give it up if you have someone to play with. Most of the game is physical skill, not eyesight. Ask your playing partner to line you up with the ball (if you can't see it well enough) and then tell you about any potential hazards and the distance you need to cover. The rest is up to you. (And remember to buy your partner a drink at the clubhouse after the game, win or lose.)
- Most important of all, nurture friends and family members. Not only do they provide much-needed emotional support, but they are probably very willing to take turns driving you around to all of those things you are going to get involved in.
This is only a partial list. If you would like to contribute your own ideas, please send them to me at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you!
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