Keep it Real Wednesday
July 31, 2019
What many of you might not know about Rosemary is that she is legally blind. Her vision has been affected by glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. Her left eye is significantly impaired and her right has about 25 percent vision.
Losing her vision was a slow process but thankfully, we were able to loop in resources along the way. The Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired was a tremendous resource for our family. They sent a staff member to our home to talk about things that could be done to help Rosemary continue to live more independently. They suggested raised buttons with sticky backs for easy placement on items to navigate in the home like a phone, remote, and microwave. Other suggestions included audio books, wide pens that do not bleed through, large print checks that are free through the banks, requesting large print menus in a restaurant and even an awareness of how food is presented on a plate.
I have attached a graphic for what blindness might look like for you. The beige area indicates the area of sight. Rosemary experiences vision loss like the top three images on the picture and has lost much of her central vision, which makes it difficult for facial recognition and reading. Unless you are very close to her, she may not recognize your face. Reading is only accomplished through audio books. I often must explain the food on her plate before she eats. Her visual field is also affected making it difficult to gauge depth perception. She is encouraged to walk with a cane, walker or someone to guide her.
If you are struggling with a family member or friend with blindness, please know there are resources to help. Please reach out to the Commission for the Blind in your state.
Pride, to some, can be an obstacle. With my mother it is a motivator. Her pride is what continues to nudge her to go to church each Sunday and listen intently in the third row to the Reverend she cannot see, giving his sermon that she cannot hear. He prints large print programs specially for her and she is tremendously grateful for the gesture. Every week, she holds the program on her lap reading along not knowing it is sometimes upside down. Then she goes home and listens to his sermon on a CD where she can enjoy it with her headphones.
With Rosemary’s hearing and vision disabilities aside, she lives life to the fullest. She enjoys the simple pleasures of memory provoking smells such as flowers and food. She smiles with content while holding a friend’s hand in a conversation and waves at any car that passes by on the blessing bike. She enjoys tapping her feet to the faint tune of her favorite big band song.
Rosemary may not be able to see or hear the joys in the world, but she feels them in her heart.