Suggestions for activities / crafts for someone severely sight restricted

infj Forumite Posts: 63
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my mother has in past 2-3 years become blind or "severely sight restricted" as they call it now due to macular degeneration. She has also lost quite a bit of mobility due to other issues.
She listens to hundreds of audiobooks via our library but she gets really bored as she can do so little now. She wants something useful to do with her hands but being unable to see needlework etc cannot do that. Her sensitivity in her fingers is not great either....
I had a quick look at the RNIB shop for games/activities but I'm not convinced she'd be able to do any of them - and she needs to be able to do it on her own.

We have had visits from council social services and occupational therapy but other than suggesting audiobooks that she already does, they didn't really have any useful suggestions that she could manage.
She has always loved quizzes, crosswords, sudoku etc - sadly all things she can no longer do. She had to give up watching Countdown - and she loved Countdown  :'(

Does anyone have any suggestions of useful activities that they've used themselves or had an elderly person use successfully when blind?

Thanks, Sarah


  • KxMx
    KxMx Forumite Posts: 10,384
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    You might have a local sight impaired group that would probably be more helpful than OT/SS. 
  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Spoonie_Turtle Forumite Posts: 6,759
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    edited 9 July at 1:45PM
    Do Scrabble tiles have tactile letters? If so maybe she could use those for her own form of 'Countdown' or general making words out of them.  Someone sighted could easily sort them into consonants and vowels to start with, keep them in two bags that feel different so she knows which is which.

    Dominoes?  I know usually a two-person game, but modified just for the challenge of finding and matching the numbers now it's not as easy as looking at them.

    Things like Sudoku, if she can see enough with high contrast + large print + magnifiers, maybe still possible?  An extra layer of difficulty not being able to see the whole puzzle at once, of course.

    *A specific MD group would likely be the most help though, not just with ideas but knowing where and how to find different things.*

    I do know crochet is possible for some people with visual impairments - and there are loads of YouTube tutorials of patterns that have voiceover - but obviously that depends on whether she already knows how to or has someone who can teach her in person.  It could be worth thinking about, actually, if she's able to do/learn that now then hopefully it would be something she can still do even if her sight continues to deteriorate.

    Technology nowadays has loads of accessibility features, if she's capable of learning to use it that could open up a lot of things like games - but I know technology is already very unfamiliar to a fair amount of older people and they can find it difficult to learn even with sight, so that may not be an option.  I'm just mentioning it just in case.  (This is where the experience of actual blind/VI people is invaluable - I don't know enough to be able to point you anywhere or give specific suggestions.)

    Edit: oh, I can't believe I forgot!  Music - would she be up for something like a recorder or keyboard?  With or without lessons, she might enjoy playing around with them even if she doesn't have the foundation in how to play already.  Again depends on the person, but it is something creative rather than passive (which I think is the key here from what you've said, and is why audiobooks alone are not enough).
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Forumite Posts: 45,435
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    If she was previously into knitting or crochet, both of these may be possible. Crochet may have the edge in that there's only ever 1 or 2 stitches on the hook, but simple knitting is worth considering. Thicker wool and larger needles may help, and I find circular needles are good, because you're less likely to pull all the stitches off. 

    I am the 'sorter out' for my friend with limited sight. It helps that she's knitted all her life, and she's usually just fine, she can count stitches and rows by feel. If she can feel a dropped stitch, however, I head over and sort it out.
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • marcia_
    marcia_ Forumite Posts: 1,157
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     I don't know if something like this will work
  • teddysmum
    teddysmum Forumite Posts: 9,452
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    Google lists traditional games, like dominoes and cards, which have been adapted for blind people.

    You can use such as Cortana to read newspapers etc on a pc.It's free on my pc, so probably this applies to most.

    How about clay. PlayDough or home made salt dough modelling ? 

    Pet therapy. Does a neighbour or friend have a cat, small dog or rabbit, who would like a cuddle and whose mum's chat would be a bonus.

    'The Blind Legend' is a pc game created for both sighted and those with difficulties. It is about a knight who searches for his wife, with the help of his daughter, but it's sound only (needs headphones) with the visuals consisting of coloured smoke. It's praised by sighted gamers and one who is partially sighted, being just £4.99 on Steam, but a mere 68p on Gamivo. The latter is a seller of game keys, but fine, if you are careful not to be enrolled in the SMART club, where a monthly fee means discounts.

    Audio Game Hub is a free mobile app with 11 mainly sound games.

    Lighthouse Guild's web site suggests more apps. and free access sites.

    Disability Horizons, a text and audio channel, suggests some interesting mobile apps, but not all for the same mobile system. A few may be USA only , but include maze, jigsaw, colouring and music making games.

    There are lots of sites to check out on Google, one of which makes a good suggestion .ie Look up old text only computer games (will be free online) and use a page reader to give the information. The user has to solve puzzles , choose directions etc. These text/text and audio games are shunned by most sighted players, now that the visuals are so good, but when they came out, I remember enjoying them.

  • infj
    infj Forumite Posts: 63
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    Thanks to everyone who has made suggestions. I am going to check out some of these and see if any are suitable.
    We have a cat but he's the non cuddle and non chat type sadly  :/;)
  • teddysmum
    teddysmum Forumite Posts: 9,452
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    I meant cuddle the animal and chat with his or her owner, who would bring them to visit. :D If you don't know anyone, perhaps a local vicar/minister could enquire of their congregation.
  • OutdoorQueen
    OutdoorQueen Forumite Posts: 31
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    edited 2 August at 9:23PM
    Many areas have a local charity that supports people with sight difficulties.  They often have a shop where you can visit and try different gadgets and seek advice. They also often run different groups and activities.  In Derby there is a group that offer track cycling with a pilot rider on a tandem for visually impaired people.   

    This links to local groups for macular conditions

  • JKS$(
    JKS$( Forumite Posts: 73
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    Has she had a low vision assessment to see if any types of handheld magnification can help? I’ve just had one (12 years after my first) & although my sight has deteriorated a lot, new things are available. 
    I tried a pair of adjustable glasses for watching TV that improved things, & a second pair which meant I was able to sew less badly 😀 It’s still much harder & less fun that it used to be before sight loss, but those glasses allow me to do things I thought I’d lost forever.

    Low vision assessments aren’t pushed enough for those of us with deteriorating conditions IMHO. In Wales some community opticians can do them, not sure if it’s the same elsewhere in the UK. 
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