I’ve always looked forward to a quieter season of life when I could catch up on all the books I’ve been too busy to read and all the crossword puzzle books I’ve wanted to fill in. I love my Sandwich Generation life and writing all about it, but it definitely has cut down on my reading time. 🙂 I know many of us in the baby boomer generation are feeling that way. Unfortunately, as I watch the seniors I love dealing with the aging process, I’ve noticed that aging eye changes and low vision issues are leading to the necessity of making some changes to that plan for them, and maybe, someday, for all of us.
What can we do for a beloved senior if their eyes don’t allow for easy reading like in the past? There are some good solutions and we’re going to continue to explore them over the next few weeks. One that’s been around for quite a while is, of course, extra large print books – including large print crossword puzzle books like the picture above. I remember discovering them when I was in the library in my teens. I’d be looking for a book by a favorite author and sometimes the only copy they had available was in the large print section. Very interesting, I thought at the time. Now, I am so grateful for them for my beloved seniors, and sometimes even for myself.
In fact, I’ve had to switch from my favorite NASB Life Application Study Bible to the NIV Life Application Study Bible with Large Print. The Bible words are fine for me to read in my older version and I still use it. The notes at the bottom of the page are in smaller print, though, and I got tired of squinting. The large print version is easier to read so I’m a happy camper except that I wish they’d offer it in the NASB version in large print.
Of course, it’s not just large print books (including my favorite Christian books by Karen Kingsbury) and Bibles that are available. There are some magazine subscriptions that give you large print options as well. Readers Digest in large print and Guideposts in large print have been low vision gifts for the elderly members of my family for Christmas for years.
For those family members whose eyesight is considered legally blind, there are some wonderful non-profit organizations that can provide giant print or audio books, among other things, including:
- American Foundation for the Blind – I don’t think this organization provides books but it has excellent information and resources for families dealing with vision loss, including specific articles for those families caring for elderly parents as well as easy to understand information for young grandkids (you’ll notice their cute ladybug above 🙂 ). Perfect for the Sandwich Generation family AND lots of great resources for those who might be homeschooling. 🙂
- The Christian Record Services for the Blind (CRS) offers a free subscription to their large print magazine, Lifeglow, as well as other large print or audio versions of some books and magazines. Their site explains that, ” Due to requirements of U.S. Copyright law, some periodicals are available only to the blind and visually–impaired who have provided documentation of their disability. If you meet these requirements please login or create an account.” The CRS site also has an interesting article, Screen Reader Review, including details about a free screen reader – Satogo. If you or a senior parent have extreme low vision issues, the CRS could be an excellent resource!
- The Lutheran Braille Workers – “They provide free large print and Braille Bibles and a variety of other Christian books and pamphlets in multiple languages to blind and vision impaired readers throughout the world. What a wonderful ministry!
- Another great option for those who qualify is the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) – “Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail.” These services are available to all ages – from our grandkids on up to the great-grandparents!
- Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, (RFB&D) looks like another good service. It, too, does have eligibility requirements.
How about you and your Sandwich Generation family? Are you dealing with normal aging eye changes or more extreme? What low vision help have you found? We’d love to hear about them here. For the Baby Boomer caring for elderly parents and grandkids, useful resources are always good news that we love to share!
P.S. To find even more regular and extra large print books at Amazon, click here. And don’t forget, the Kindle Fire and the Apple iPad have easily adjustable fonts. Many seniors are finding them easy to use and enjoyable to read no matter what size print they need! 🙂