text size

Daily Living

When it comes to performing the many tasks common in a persons’ daily routine, what many view as mundane and easy can be extremely challenging and trying for someone who is living with a vision impairment or blindness. Have you tried to board public transport, walk down the stairs, apply make up, fully experience a movie or grocery shop with low or no vision before? It is definitely not a walk in the park but can become significantly easier through the assistance of adaptive technology, training and the implementation of strategies that utilise the other senses.


Daily Living – Mobility and Travel

The use of mobility aids such as canes, minoculars and miniguides are often incorporated into the daily routines of people who are blind or visually impaired as it makes navigating around significantly easier and significantly safer. The typical long cane glides along the ground detecting hazards, obstacles, stairs and changes in surfaces for the person using it – acting almost like a set of eyes. A monocular works similarly to a binocular (however is only one sided) and is used for reading signs, street names, platforms, bus numbers and etc. A miniguide is more helpful for someone who has very little or no vision as it acts as a indicator of how close or far away the person holding it is from an upcoming object – this is useful for detecting obstacles such as tree branches or poles that are in the path that the person is travelling. There are many other mobility aids out there that can assist in navigating safely; please click here to find out more about this.

man using cane crossing the road  miniguide girl using minocular


Daily Living – Home Living

Bigger, bolder, brighter

In conjunction with using other senses such as hearing or smell, these three simple ‘b’ words can make the world of a difference to someone who has low vision. Making things bigger, bolder or brighter can be in relation to just about everything especially at home.

  • Bigger relates to enlarging things such as font to make it easier to read and/or identify things. It can be helpful to label kitchen appliances, cleaning products, packaged ingredients and etc (with a permanent marker in big writing) so that it is easier to see what is exactly what.
  • Bolder refers to contrast; using contrasting colours to assist in organising objects and performing tasks. Examples of using contrast in daily living is using cups that are a different colour to the liquid that is being poured so that it is easier to see and spills are avoided. Other methods of differentiating objects is through tactile contrast such as sticking velcro, blue-tack or an elastic band on the button that you need to use to operate the washing machine or around the shampoo bottle only so you can distinguish between hair care products.
  • Brighter refers to having sufficient light to read buttons, see spills, perform tasks and etc. this can be in the form of natural or general home lighting or tasks lighting (e.g. lamps) that are situated and utilised to enhance visibility.

tactile labelling on kitchen appliance dials   magnifier placed over the word biggerlamp


Daily Living – Lifestyle

Typical recreational activities can consists of going to watch a movie, dining or a work out session. This experience however, may not be fully felt by someone who is visually impaired or blind as there are many aspects that they cannot access. Some incremental (and even exponential) changes are evident through audio description that is provided in selected cinemas, art galleries and theatre performances – allowing for a holistic experience whereby viewers are informed (via an ear piece) of what is happening when there is no dialogue. To find out more about audio description in cinemas, theatre shows, TV and etc, check out the Media Access Australia website here.

Headphones with the letters 'AD' in between themMedia Access Australia logo

Furthermore, restaurants are becoming more user friendly and smartphone applications such as the KNFB reader can be utilised to assist in reading the menu. In terms of exercise, it is often difficult for someone who has little or no vision to follow a exercise class but it is possible if a sighted guide or fitness instructor can work with you one on one until you get the hang of things and/or reasonable accommodations are made such as an emphasis on verbal descriptions. Asking your community centre or gym to use visually contrasting, audible or tactile indicators on machine dials, basketball hoops or treadmills are some other minor ways to work around reading or identifying equipment.

blind man riding bike with a sighted guide walking behindman sitting at dining table using his phone to convert the text in the restaurant menu to speech