Living Independently with a Visual Impairment

Michael McLellanby Author Micheal Mcclellan

As a person with a visual impairment, I still try to be as independent in my life as possible.

However, I still need some support in my life but then again, don’t we all?

Although I live alone, I do require some support at home with things like cleaning, cooking, and paying bills.

Because I am not totally blind I can do some cleaning on my own.

For example I do all my own laundry.

However, because I can’t see the small items that I need to clean, I have a house keeper that comes once every two weeks.


Cooking also poses some challenges.  I have just started to learn how to barbecue,

I can make my own coffee and I have a talking microwave to help me as well. But cutting up food and using a knife poses a real problem.

People with visual impairments use their hands as their eyes so if I were to cut my hand while making dinner, it could have more serious consequences.


In terms of managing the finances of my home, I need people to help me read my bills before I can even pay them! And there are times I need help with budgeting. Even using interact, debit machines, and bank machines can be difficult without support.


Being sight impaired or totally blind you need to ‘feel’ your way around places.

It is best if a person with a sight impairment gets a tour of new place so they can become familiar with it and help them move around more independently.

Getting around town can also pose a challenge.

I use transit as well as support from workers, friends and family to get around. Travelling around in a new community or on vacations and work trips is a whole different ball game. In those situations I am more reliant on support.


Lastly, there is amazing adaptive technology that is available for people with visual impairment.

Tech company Apple has a wide variety of products that all come with voice over technology already.

Apple TV, I-pods, I-phones, and I-pad all can receive voice commands through Siri, the female voice over that has become synonymous with Apple products.

However, I also have a PC computer and I’ve installed speech software called JAWS(Job Access with speech) which functions the same as voice over.

If you are a book lover then there is technology for that as well. Daisy readers will read audio books that you can get either from the library or the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) library. They also have DVS (Described Video Service) for movies.

There are other types of technology out there to help out in the home like talking microwaves, talking watches, and talking scales which all help if you are visually impaired.

Living independently is an achieve goal for everyone with a visual impairment.

Although you’ll still need to rely friends, family, or even paid support with some more difficult tasks, using adaptive technology and other strategies can help you live your life independently.



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