“Micro-Prepping” for a visually challenged partner

Hubby is highly – but not totally – visually challenged.  I’ve made some life decisions recently that eliminate some physical risk to myself so I have less likelihood of leaving him in the lurch if I take an unscheduled trip in an ambulance (or worse).  But it’s all too possible, so I need to do more to get him through a sudden crisis until he can get plugged in to services.  We don’t have family or friends nearby that could help him, although a neighbor or two  would probably pitch in for the short term.  Anyway, since the earlier decision was made, “the rest of the story” has been weighing heavily on my mind.

So, novel assistive devices are on our gear-to-acquire list.  He has a talking watch and a talking tape measure, the latter of which has been nearly life-altering for an active DIY person.  But…he can’t operate the heat pump thermostat.  We will be getting an Alexa-enabled thermostat installed, as Alexa already assists him with things like playing the radio, setting timers, etc.

He participates in the Library of Congress program that provides free reading material for the blind and disabled.  These audiobooks are so critical to his well-being.  I need to download dozens of books for him even in the simple event that we “enjoy” a power outage together.

 He can’t use any sort of touch screen.

In our newly created storage space, I’m dedicating the most easily accessible shelves to heat-and-eat, or eat-out-of-the-can foods so it doesn’t matter what he grabs, he can get good nutrition.  Doing the same with a freezer, and adding unheard-of-around-here things like frozen dinners and Pizza.  He has tactile “bumps” on the stove so that he can use both the stove top and oven.  The microwave is not so friendly, but he can definitely use it for some things.  He is on top of feeding all the animals.  He is highly adapted to his disability, uses all the power equipment, etc., but I will be continually refining this new direction in prepping so that he can stand alone for as long as it takes. 

I am more than open to thoughts and ideas to help “micro-prep” for this amazing man.


  • Comments (5)

    • 3

      I admire the love and dedication you have for your husband. You brought up many things that I didn’t even knew exist.

      Try contacting a blind school and asking for some tips.

      Having your house clean, organized, and with everything in it’s place can be helpful to him I imagine. Try and declutter and simplify your life. Instead of having 30 things on your desk, go down to 5. It’s much easier for 5 things to be in their place and him to memorize those 5 rather than the 30.

      I know you said that he can’t work a touch screen, but you should look into that some more. I’ve seen many blind people work a touch screen by memorization. You probably have to have some special simplified software on there though. The reason I bring that up is that there is a helpful app called ‘be my eyes’. They click on it and connects with volunteers through a video call. Your husband then would point the camera at the spices in the cupboard, tv remote, or whatever and the seeing volunteer on the other end would tell him what they see. This can be extremely important if you were gone and he cut himself pretty bad and needed help locating the first aid kit or something. And it’s an excellent app for us who can see to volunteer our time to help others see. I’ll probably do a couple hours of volunteer work this winter.

      • 4

        Bradical, you can’t even imagine how much this guy’s done for me, and continues to do for me in the 47 years we’ve been married.  It’s a privilege just to walk next to him.

        Since age related macular degeneration comes on very gradually, he has become highly adapted to his condition and resistant to challenging himself with some adaptive equipment (he has some extremely high tech equipment that sits unused in a drawer because the learning curve to use it is so intense). And “normalcy bias” means certain potential disasters just never cross his mind. And if I bring them up, what can he do about it except rely on me to solve the problem, and so I’m constantly imagining and searching for assistive equipment and ways around barriers.

        It’s funny you should mention de-cluttering, as we have been on an enormous, ongoing “deboning” project of cleaning out everything that has no place in our lives. Everything else that “matters” to him is faithfully placed in its proper place.

        I have never heard of the app you mention and I am grateful to learn about it! Thank you for posting about it.

        We just made a huge breakthrough this evening.  I have discovered a text-to-voice handheld scanner that has endless applications.  We’ve been through a successful troubleshooting session just now and overcome some of its apparent limitations.  I envision long winter nights making and applying labels to everything. One of the first tasks will be creating a telephone directory with it.

        Thank you for the time you give to helping others on the app!

      • 2

        It is beautiful to see you both working so well together.

        Many spouses are not into emergency preparedness as much as we are. They get into that normalcy bias or just have other interests they would rather pursue. 

        What I’ve seen other people on here do is just to explain to their spouse that this is important to them, it would mean a lot, and give them comfort if their spouse supports them in this journey and at least pays attention to what they have gathered and prepared.

        For example, set up some water storage in the basement and tell your husband it would mean a lot to you if you can work with him to learn how to access that water and pour himself a glass if he ever needed to. From what it sounds like, he is a great man and will do this for you. Tell him you will set everything up and just need him to know how to do it and that it would be comforting to you if anything ever happened.

        I hope that text-to-voice scanner is helpful and works well. Let us know how things go with it.

    • 3

      Good evening Dogpatch,

      Until now, had thought it was only me who can’t use any sort of touch screen.

      In case you’re away during these stressful times, great relaxation can be experienced by listening to an AM-FM-SW portable radio. Have a blister pack of replacement AA batteries ready for use.

      Like your husband, I’d avoid the radios with the push button functions to locate a channel, etc. A spin dial is best from my experience. These radios can be super stress-reducers.

      Definitley “outline” the exit doors and handles with high viz fluorescent tape in case of need to get out fast. When I’m alone here, beside the high viz tape, I place a Walmart plastic bag with something in it – anything of bulk -and hang on door handles. If the tape doesn’t work, feeling for the plastic bag is a super back-up.

      Although relatively expensive, Streamlight (www.streamlight.com) has a flashlight named “The New Survivor”. It features an amber center light within main beam that reduces peripheral light and eye fatigue caused by glare. I have the old model. “New Survivor” still on list of things needed to get.

      There are relatively large signs to display in house windows near main doors to alert emergency responders eg police, fire fighters, a resident is visually impaired. Your state agency for the blind should be a good source to learn about these signs. My DAV chapter uses our state agency to the max. 

      Foot Note:  It is now legal to train one’s own service animal. No longer needed is the ~ $20, 000 to have a seeing eye dog. Worth checking into. The same state agency for the blind and visually-impaired should also be a reservoir of info on new self-train dog program.

      • 3

        Bob, you are not alone!  It would probably be a very good idea for us to get another, simpler radio, if I could find one (we have a small emergency radio, but there again, too many functions).  He relies on Alexa to play his favorite radio stations. 

        He still has some of peripheral vision, just not central, so he is very able to locate a great many things like exits, but we will adapt with more aids if the condition worsens.  It actually seems to be relatively stable.

        I will check out that flashlight, thanks!

        Signs notifying first responders – SUPER idea, thank you!

        Service dog, a though that never occurred to me.  His deeply devoted pooch is getting elderly.  And interestingly enough, my brother’s brother-in-law has been involved in Guide Dogs for decades.  He frequently has a pup that doesn’t “make the cut”, that he wants to re-home.  Who knows, the stars may align.  I am a modestly proficient dog/horse trainer so could adapt to that task.

        Thanks so much for your great ideas!