Being Organized, part 3 - Eye Talk by Annie Schlesinger
We’re not organized yet; this article will give more of my thoughts about it. Less is easier to manage and a well thought out routine allows time for relaxation, fun things and less anxiety.
In the kitchen clear counters are better. Take items out and put them away; you will be able to find the item later. Bins and trays keep supplies in their place.
Measuring dry or liquid ingredients on a tray makes clean up easier. A liquid indicator such as “Say When” is good when pouring liquids. A round plastic fishing float can be used for cold liquids. Find these floats in sports department.
Pay attention to knife storage. I used to have a wooden counter top block for storage but don’t have counter space for it now. I keep my sharp long knife in a drawer, sharp side down, wedged in a space next to the silverware tray. Paring knives go tip down in a heavy cup-like container in a corner of counter.
If you take long term medications see if your pharmacy has automatic renewal. I receive some medications by mail. The label can be read by a machine that was given to me.
When I leave the apartment I lock the door with the key - I always have my key with me.
I have two identical purses-one summer, one winter so items are always in the same pocket or compartment. I use cross body bag and rarely set it down when I am out; I might forget the bag or not see it.
For taxes I plan to sort items in envelopes; I may need some help with taxes.
Spots on my clothing may not be seen by me so I try to avoid them. I often wear a chest protector (bib, crumb-catcher). I did some beading on a cord, attached an alligator clip and use it with a napkin-a fashion statement! I gave one to my brother and he uses it, takes it on trips even (he likes the pearls).
My microwave has bump dots marking the controls. My mail box in mail room has bump dot on it. Answering machine, TV remote and telephone have dots besides the standard one on number 5. I have marked my thermostat and space heater controls with dots. 3D and puff paint works well on some items.
I have many things around the house marked with bump dots or 3D paint. I put dots on top of electric cords that need to be lined up a certain way.
3D paint dots in braille letters are used to mark my clothing and hats for color. Pen Friend laundry stickers and safety pin in a code are among some of the ways to mark clothing. There are commercial products or apps identifying colors; try before buying.
In my community laundry I place a cutout from a magnet sheet on the washers and dryers I am using. I have customized these with my name using 3D paint. As there are ten washers and ten dryers this is a help for me. One sighted person has adopted this idea.
New apps are coming out all the time and I try to check out all the ones I hear about that might be useful. Networking and belonging to groups help keep me up-to-date. Several apps help me read print and identify objects. There are also stand-alone machines that read print.
Finally, the end. Being organized helps us live more worry free. My memory is not as good as it used to be and I can get distracted. Return the item to its designated spot and you will be able to find it again. Control equals satisfaction!
Eye Talk by Annie Schlesinger
It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I was diagnosed with my heredity eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). I was told I would likely become totally blind. Although I knew I couldn’t see well, it was a shock! Not knowing how long I had, I begin to prepare.
I took some classes at Braille Institute in Los Angeles. I was given lessons in using the long white cane. Next I took correspondence courses from Hadley Institute including Independent Living and Braille. After I started getting talking books I read stories by and about blind people. I wanted to know how to live.
Although I was legally blind I could function fairly well for a lengthy period of time. BUT as the loss of vision started to impact more of my daily functioning I begin to take vision loss seriously. Unlike me many people won’t become totally blind, I read 85% will retain some vision but may have trouble reading and with activities of daily living. Everyone can benefit from these suggestions.
Here are some things I suggest:
My number one is to get organized! Don’t waste your time and get frustrated by not being organized.
Learn to do things in a non-visual way. This is easier to do while you still have vision as you can check on yourself. Use other senses, there are four more besides vision. Touch does lots for us. Mark items with bump dots or 3D paint so you can locate places such as numbers on a microwave.
If you expect to change residences, do it while you still have vision and can arrange it to your satisfaction.
Work with your environment. Get used to pushing in chairs, close cabinet doors. Plan contrast in dishes, towels, rugs. Plan lighting, avoid glare.
Sign up for talking books if you like to read; this gives you telephone access to NFBNewsline which has over 500 publications available. Bard allows downloading books to a tablet or other device.
When you can’t read your own handwriting there are several digital recorders available for under $100 you can use to make notes and lists.
If you can, get into technology. There’s much available, and although harder to learn for older folks, it opens up another dimension for us. We older folks, and younger ones too, resist change and it may take more repetition for us to learn something. But I did it when all I really wanted in technology was to use the ATM.
“With tools, techniques and a dose of imagination blended with persistence there have always been solutions to performing ordinary tasks without the benefit of 20/20 vision.” Deborah Kendrick
References: Eyes on Success, MDSupport, Access World
Eye Talk by Annie Schlesinger
By the time I was diagnosed with my eye disease, I was in my forties and legally blind. I had some classes at Braille Institute in Los Angeles and Orientation and Mobility training (O&M). Most of my O&M has been done wearing a blindfold. It was SCARY! My first instructor let me walk in to a wall; he said, “You need to learn!”
For years I didn’t use the cane; I could get around fairly well and only occasionally bumped into people or objects. Luckily I never fell. Like many others I didn’t want to be identified as a blind person; some perceive a stigma about using a cane.
I started using the cane when I was bumping into more people. One woman didn’t accept my apology and shouted at me. She walked away but came back and shouted at me again. I was about in tears. After that I started at least carrying the cane to identify myself. People were nicer and often helpful. I was safer.
The long white cane helps me to scan my surroundings for obstacles and orientation landmarks. The basic technique is to swing the cane side to side no wider than the shoulders, the cane is two steps ahead as one walks. This can be done by tapping the cane in an arc or sliding the cane from side to side, keeping contact with the surface. in close quarters a pencil grip keeps the cane close to the body while still checking ahead. Shore lining is hitting the edge of the sidewalk with each swing.
No matter how skillful I am situations develop. So far I deal with them and go on. In my complex walkways can have obstacles: walkers, carts, baskets and sometimes doors are left ajar. My cane encounters them and I pass safety.
I search for landmarks such as potted plants, changes from carpet to tile and other changes in surfaces. I am alert for ramps, curbs and stairs. Sometimes sounds echo off a surface or a low ceiling; skillful travelers can often detect differences in these sounds.
When do you start to use a cane?
-When you are not effective in getting around,
-When you are relying more and more on help,
-When you become dangerous to yourself and others,
-When you want to be more effective and competent,
-When you want to walk as a blind person with confidence, it’s time to use a long white cane!
NFB.org has instructions for using the cane, “Care and feeding of the long white cane”. It is instructive but I recommend training with an instructor.