With coronavirus making a massive impact on the landscape in the United Kingdom, many people will now find themselves staying at home in self-isolation under lockdown.
The visually impaired community will be no exception and, while there may be numerous guides and advice for how people should handle staying at home, there are a lack of resources specifically for those with sight loss.
So we’ve compiled a list of tips for those with a visual impairment during their self-isolation and lockdown.
1. Self-isolation with family and friends
Social distancing is a buzzword in recent times. But despite this, it is still important to have close ones nearby, whether it be physically or digitally.
Being able to talk and converse is important to not feeling completely isolated and will help with mental health.
Physical closeness can also help with procurement of essential supplies if stock at home runs low.
2. Take advantage of store policies
Many stores and supermarkets have announced policies which allow those who are vulnerable or disabled to have priority during certain times of the day. Take advantage of these slots to ensure that you have everything you need.
Time slots also mean that the number of people around will be reduced and so make it easier to avoid larger crowds.
3. Assistive technologies can help
Assistive technology has made it easier for many people to accomplish tasks that they once struggled with. OXSIGHT smart glasses have helped those with peripheral vision loss to take advantage of their remaining vision and expand their field of view.
There are also apps that connect those with sight loss with others who can then “become their eyes” through the use of a phone camera. Voice activated gadgets are also abundant. Alexa and Siri are just a couple of the artificial intelligences that can be found in devices.
Henshaws have a great online resource for assistive technology and they go in depth on which ones are suited to what purpose and how to find the ones that work best for you.
4. Communities are always around
Self-isolation doesn’t mean that all contact is forbidden. Help is often just a click or phone call away. OXSIGHT’s phone lines remain open and our opticians are available to discuss eyesight concerns. Henshaws have also kept their phone lines open for people to call (0300 222 5555) and they offer more advice on getting the most out of assistive technology whilst being inside.
Many other charities and organisations are also ensuring that they are contactable during this time so that no one is ever truly alone.
Also, there are plenty of communities online which offer an outlet to talk and share experiences. These online gatherings are a great source of comfort and companionship especially during a crisis like this.
5. Stay away from social media
This may seem counterintuitive given tip number 4, but social media is not all good.
There is much fake news and, arguably worse, fear-mongering online. This can be particularly true during global crises. Taking breaks from scrolling can give the mind a bit of rest and a way to isolate yourself from what is happening.
Another reason why it may be a good idea to limit the amount of time spent online is the prevalence of scams. There has been an increase in the number of scams that aim to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic. From phishing emails claiming to have a vaccine to online vendors selling counterfeit masks and hand sanitiser, confidence tricksters are exploring all the ways they can to separate people from their money.
NOTE: The UK government have an online form for those who are extremely vulnerable and wish to apply for additional support during this time. You can sign up from this link.
These are just some of the tips for making the most of your time in self-isolation. If you have any you wish to share, be sure to leave a comment on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Stay safe and be healthy.