World Braille Day occurs on January 4th each year. In honor of this, let’s examine short-term rehab from the angle of a blind person. A visually impaired or blind senior in short-term rehab would experience everything differently to a seeing person.
Diseases that can cause blindness often affect seniors. Of course, there are actions a person can do to retain eye health. But for a senior who is partially or completely blind, life is just so different. A seeing person needs to focus to take the needs of a blind or visually impaired patient on board.
World Braille Day
World Braille Day is an annual celebration marked internationally each January 4th. That is the birthday of Louis Braille, the famous inventor of the Braille language. Braille is a touch language. The letters, punctuation and numbers in Braille are made up of raised dots. A blind person or someone who is severely visually impaired can used Braille, to read and write.
The Royal Blind Society points out that Braille champions the cause of the blind for:
- Intellectual freedom
- Equal opportunity and
- Personal security
We find Braille in all sorts of places such as ATMs. Braille has changed the lives of blind people for the better.
The Topic of Being A Visually Impaired or Blind Senior in Short-Term Rehab
When talking with a visually impaired or blind senior in short-term rehab there are tips for sensitivity and etiquette:
Always Introduce Yourself
Actually, a person should always introduce themselves to a senior person. Why assume that the person you are talking to remembers who you are? Take the first step and ease the discomfort.
Take Leave Politely Too
When you are going, say good-bye. You wouldn’t want to leave your companion still talking to themselves. That would engender a really uncomfortable feeling.
A Blind Person Can’t See
But he can hear, unless he is deafblind. So, there is no need to raise your voice. You should talk clearly, and speak slowly enough to enunciate your words properly, but there is no need to exaggerate.
Don’t Assume the Blind Person Is Oversensitive
You can use words like ‘see’, ‘look’ or ‘view’. You can take a photograph of the person or use your phone in their presence. But do use common sense and sensitivity. On the topic of phones, look into i-Phones for the blind and Braille smartphones.
Communicating Effectively with a Blind Person
- If a nurse is treating a visually impaired or blind senior in short-term rehab you can expect them to address him directly to give them the instructions. If necessary, you can explain the instructions again to the loved one or carer.
- To give instructions, a medical member cannot rely on pointing or using gesticulations. They should explain verbally, out loud, or offer an instruction booklet in Braille.
- Instructions can be recorded using a phone app. Alternatively, download a recording app. The instructions can be replayed for the visually impaired senior later on.
- Ask the visually impaired or blind senior if they understood the instructions. If the language was hard to understand, go over it again using simple terms.
Other pertinent topics….
If you are in the home of a blind person, leave his possessions where he put them, so he can find them later on. Otherwise, ask him where you can move the item to.
If a blind person is going to be staying in a rehab center on an in-patient basis, prepare their possessions. The blind person cannot identify their possessions by a named sticker alone. So, you have to think out of the box. Try furry named stickers, or a small item glued onto possessions. Do this alongside the named stickers, since seeing people will also need to identify items. For example, a juice bottle stored in the communal refrigerator, can be adorned with a broad elastic band with the patient’s name written on it.
Sensitivity in General
A blind person who identifies themselves as K. F., writes about how they feel patronized, by seeing medical staff. Here are a few points to take note of:
- Ask how the patient would prefer to receive notifications or informative material: in printed, audio or digital format.
- Discuss a way to mark medications to aid the patient in taking the medicines correctly. One idea was to use 3 elastic bands on a bottle, to signify taking the medicine 3 times a day.
- Read aloud what you write in the medical records.
- Tell a patient which procedures will be performed before carrying them out. Present the equipment for the patient to feel, if they wish.
- Enable a patient to practice dressings that they have to perform themselves, or exercises for therapy in between sessions.
The Topic of Being a Senior with Blindness or Visual Impairment – this was just the suface…..
Being a visually impaired or blind senior in short-term rehab can be improved by using common sense. And a generous helping of sensitivity. Medical staff and loved ones should do whatever they can to optimize the experience.