For this post I wanted to share some of the non-tech gadgets that help me. I am not disregarding technology at all because without it I wouldn’t be able to communicate, do my job or live as independently as I do. It is an important part of any sight loss journey. I just don’t think it is the most important. I still believe in the human connection whether that be to yourself or others. I haven’t yet fallen to the AI revolution and at this point I don’t think I ever will.
It is great that technology is improving every day and that people of any ability or background can embrace it. Change is inevitable and as humans we need to progress. I just think we can and still need to keep the soul and spirit as a high priority. I think the two can work together.
With that I wanted to share with you some of the none-tech gadgets I use every day alongside technology to live my life as a blind woman. My top three are
My long Cane
This is a simple mobility aid that has been around for blind and partially sighted people as far back as you can go. They used to use a humble stick before they got all fancy collapsing, lightweight and colourful. Proving how resourceful the human being can be.
My mobility training taught me how to use a long cane. Yes, there is a correct way to use it. Learning this skill enabled me to grow my confidence and independence. It has led me to making the decision to apply for a guide dog because I can see how much more independent a dog would make me. I know it is not for all but having my cane allowed me to access the world again.
My cane has become an extension of my personality, much like how I accessorise, I have accessorised my cane. I have a few different designs reflecting my colourful outlook on life and my proud northern home. I have a rainbow cane and one with Manchester bees on it.
There are gadgets and tech now for the cane to navigate, like GPS attachments, but I still like the good old fashioned tap tap. There is already a lot to concentrate on, for me adding a GPS that beeps constantly is just a hindrance.
My Opti Coaster
I was kindly gifted a coaster. I know what a strange gift! This one, however, has been designed and made with blind and partially sighted people in mind. It is fab! It is made of plastic (I would have preferred wood) but it is very tactile and has a deep lip so easy to feel. It also has a ridge inside where the cup or glass sits to stop my cuppa falling over. It is also a bright yellow colour so contrasts and it glows in the dark!
It is something that is so simple but has made a big difference, especially to my kitchen crockery.
Tactile bands and bobbles
These are my favourite and can help in so many different areas of the home. I have these around shampoo, conditioner bottles to identify the difference. I have them around my oat milk to identify this from the cow’s milk because I use a milkman and they come in glass bottles which are the same shape and size. I use them around make up and toiletries to differentiate the items.
I know there are tech things coming on the market such as navi lens. This is a great, especially out and about in the supermarket to find items and recognise them, but when I am at home in the shower I don’t want to have my phone in there with me to find the shampoo over the conditioner. For a start my phone is not waterproof and for second my shower is my time to get away from life so a bobble or tactile band will do me just fine. It is also a very cheap alternative!
I hope me sharing some of the simple things I do to help my independence has helped you have a little more insight into the life of a blind or partially sighted person. We all have our own way of living and working and what works for me might not work for the next person as we are all different, even those with sight loss. I hope if you are going through your sight loss journey this gives you a little insight and a few tips.
Take care and I hope you have enjoyed the read.