The holiday season is just around the corner. We know it is a special time to gather with friends and family. To eat lots of delicious food, while socializing with people you hold dear. To celebrate those old traditions and start new ones. But if you are new to vision loss, how do you prepare for this year’s joyful celebration? How do you incorporate your vision impairment into a merry experience? If you are feeling nervous or anxious about the upcoming holidays, don’t despair. Read these suggestions to plan for a jolly and memorable time of year.
Tasks take more time
Remember, when adjusting to vision loss, tasks take more time. Cooking, cleaning, getting dressed, even simple things like brushing your teeth will take time. So keep that in mind when preparing for the holidays. If you are going to cook a favorite dish or decorate the house, it might take more time than before. Giving yourself ample time will make these tasks more enjoyable and less stressful.
Ask for help
Since these tasks will take longer, it can be overwhelming to have to do it all yourself. Asking others to help out can take some of the stress and pressure off. It can also make the time more pleasurable. Grab a mug of your favorite warm drink and call up a friend to trim the tree, wrap gifts or stamp Christmas cards to mail.
Options for holiday shopping
The holidays are the time for gift giving and usually means shopping for that special someone. People who are visually impaired have some options when it comes to shopping. Many retail stores will offer a sighted employee to assist in their stores. Just ask for assistance at the customer service counter, but call ahead to be sure there is help available for your trip. You can also shop online as well. Websites like Amazon and Target have made commitments to help those with vision loss shop on their websites. Whatever ways you choose, plan carefully so you have plenty of time and don’t get caught up in the last-minute shopping craze.
Fun holiday entertainment
A visual impairment doesn’t mean a total stop in having fun and enjoying entertainment with friends and family. Whether it is playing board games or cards, watching your favorite holiday movie, or attending a live performance, learning how to make some adaptations will allow you to still enjoy those festive moments. Many board games and playing cards have been adapted for people with vision loss, such as checkers, Uno, Bingo, Scrabble and Monopoly. Watch your favorite Christmas movies in audio description. Many movies are accessible with this feature, either through home entertainment services or at your local movie theater.
Cooking favorite holiday dishes
Modify your special holiday recipes by transferring them into large print or an audio recording. Learn new recipes by borrowing audio cookbooks from either your local library or the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. Use adaptive kitchen aids like long arm oven mitts, low vision cutting boards, talking food scales, low vision and talking measuring cups, double sided spatulas and metal spice measuring spoons. These accessible tools will help you prepare favorite dishes and regain your self-confidence in the kitchen.
Whether you travel close to home or long distance, it is important to prepare in advance. The holiday season brings on colder temperatures, so dress appropriately, check the weather report before leaving and share your destination with friends and family. Consider alternative travel methods like taxi cabs, shared rides, public transportation or asking a friend or family member. If traveling long distances, such as on a plane or train, learn about disability services and how you can get assistance on your journey.
The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration and cheer. Your vision impairment doesn’t have to stop you from loving this festive time of year. With some planning, preparation and even soliciting, a bit of help you can still have a joyous season with vision loss. The Outlook Enrichment team is here to assist those who deal with vision impairment as they begin to make their holiday plans. Contact us if you need additional resources, and have a great holiday season!