10 gadgets that can help the visually impaired
A list of the ingenious devices that can help people struggling with sight live independently for longer.
Published 17/07/2014 | 00:00
From talking watches to gadgets that beep when your cup is nearly full, there's a vast range of items to make it easier to live independently, despite illness, disability or increased frailty.
The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) has a particularly large range of items that can help those facing sight loss, and many other physical challenges, in their daily lives.
Its spokesperson, Fionnuala Murphy, says that most people with sight loss are elderly and have some useful vision, but may now have difficulty making a cup of tea or picking up an item they've dropped. Simple options, such as magnification aids, can be a huge help.
Eamon Timmins of Age Action Ireland says that technical advances will be hugely helpful as Ireland's population ages. "Plug sockets are one of the most age-unfriendly bits of design as they're usually at floor level, right where toddlers can reach them but where it's difficult for elderly people to get to them," he says.
Smart Consumer looked at some items that make it easier, for those with sight, hearing, movement or cognition issues, to cope with everyday living.
NCBI gadgets can be bought at www.ncbi.ie, at their shops in Dublin 9 and Kilkenny, or by phone at 01 8307033.
More gadgets are available at www.deafhear.ie.
These speak the time and some also tell you the day or date, or let you record a short memo to remind yourself of key facts, like where you parked. Priced from €11.93 (www.ncbi.ie).
Steel gadgets that rattle when the water in a saucepan starts to boil. Price: €3.32 (www.ncbi.ie).
Non-slip jar opener
Rubber jar openers help people with a weak grip to open stubborn jars. They can also be used to open doors or turn taps. Price: €4.06 (www.ncbi.ie).
Cup liquid level indicator
This helps when making a cuppa if your sight is failing: place it on the side of a cup and it will beep and vibrate when it's nearly full. Price: €10.38.
A euro note detector vibrates to indicate the value of a note when paying or getting change. Price: €31.59 (www.ncbi.ie).
Simple mobiles that feature extra-large buttons and loud sound, while more complex models read out names and texts. Priced from €41 to €192 (www.ncbi.ie).
Memory Plus phones
These amplify sound, featuring large buttons and one-press picture buttons of key contacts to help those with sight or hearing loss, dementia or dexterity issues. Price: €46.09 (www.ncbi.ie).
These stickers have raised surfaces that can be stuck on household appliances - for example at the 40C cycle on a washing machine, so you know where to turn the dial. Priced from €1.96.
Vibrating smoke alarms
These have flashing lights and/or vibrating pads that can be placed under the pillow to alert the hard of hearing to fire risks. Priced from €31 (www.deafhear.ie).
Remote control sockets
These let you turn sockets on or off without bending. Price: €22.99 (woodiesdiy.com).