Activities for a long hospital stay. Difficulty level: vision loss.
January 6, 2014 1:46 AM   Subscribe

My sister is in a rehab hospital recovering from a brain injury. She has a lot of time between physio and therapist sessions and she has to entertain herself. Unfortunately she now has limited, blurry vision (legally blind) - she can enlarge text messages and facebook messages but reading a book is too difficult. She has an iPad but is limited to rewatching movies that she is already familiar with as it is otherwise too difficult to see what is happening. She is getting tired of sitting there just listening to audiobooks and I would love to hear any other ideas you might have (including simple apps/games) that could help keep her occupied. Thankyou!
posted by Naanwhal to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Loom knitting! I am legally blind and it's one of the activities I happily engage in without my glasses on. Chunky yarn, and the round looms with big pegs. Bonus: you can do it while listening to something and it's easy to pick up. You can get them at michaels for pretty cheap.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:51 AM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

You may want to look into films specifically for visually impaired people. These tend to have spoken explanations for things that happen on screen and are not evident from dialog, basically somebody speaking the stage directions in a script.

Has she got any languages she wants to learn/brush up on? If you find some kind of audio conversation course there should be options that don't require much or any reading. The key focus has to be on conversation though.

I'd reach out to any local support groups for visually impaired people. They may be able to recommend resources for these and other things.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:56 AM on January 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

What about games? This page lists a bunch of resources including games for low vision folk.
posted by nat at 2:22 AM on January 6, 2014

Music-making apps ? Or actual, accessible instruments - looks like glockenspiels are commonly used in therapeutic settings (unless your sister can already play a guitar, in which case, maybe a ukelele)?

Clay, play-doh?

Is there an OT who can point you to resources (equipment, programs)? Things might be offered at odd times (e.g. my local hospital offers pet therapy, but only a couple of times a week).
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:38 AM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can you arrange a therapy pet for her to play with?
posted by kinetic at 3:21 AM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am guessing that you have voiceover activated on the ipad . Nothing to stop browsing and other activities. You can also get a bluetooth keyboard and use that to browse if that is easier.
Settings > General > Accessibility ( or more fully Configuring Accessibility ) The touch controls are a bit different but well worth learning.

Tune In radio app will give some choice over other listening.

after one of my surgeries i read three months of metafilter from the recovering eye with the screen held a few millimetres from my eyeball.

A blind couple i work with do a lot of sudoku on a physical board.
posted by stuartmm at 3:48 AM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is there a Lighthouse or similar organization for the blind in her area? Many have volunteers who read the local newspaper/do other things. Slightly different from audiobooks.

Arrange visitors.
Give those visitors specific tasks:
Bring a thing with textures
Music that's new
A story
More food. Small amounts of really interesting (delicious) stuff
Crayon pictures from children
Send someone in to paint her nails/do her hair, if you're certain she'd be into that.

I do know some blind people who knit. Only one reports learning after becoming blind though. (Large needles, thick yarn.)

She might also try guided meditation.
posted by bilabial at 5:03 AM on January 6, 2014

I'm not sure if it's purely the size of the text or also the amount of text that's posing problems with books, but my grandad had success with the Nook GlowLight, with the font set to be huge, the line spacing set as big as it would go and the margins huge. One caveat is that the text size isn't consistent across books--if you test it out and she can only just manage with the text as large as it goes, there will probably be books where the text is too small. You might be able to mess about in Calibre to make the sizing more consistent. Of course, if she's managing Facebook and text by holding the phone right up to her face, this suggestion is rather rubbish.
posted by hoyland at 5:46 AM on January 6, 2014

Learn a language on CD?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:07 AM on January 6, 2014

Does the hospital have DVD players? (A relative was in the hospital recently and they had a few.) They might have access to movies that have descriptive narration. Or you might be able to Redbox some of these titles that have narrative description.

Also, might be fun to get her an egg or two of Silly Putty so she has something to do with her hands. It's fun to play with when it's all warm.
posted by mochapickle at 7:43 AM on January 6, 2014

How about listening to podcasts? My wife and I are particularly fond of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, which has several great serials "in the style of old-timey radio" and many years of shows to work through. Start from the beginning!
posted by Rallon at 7:48 AM on January 6, 2014

Papa Sangre II is a fun audio game. It's spooky and you need headphones to play. Plus is has Sean Bean from Game of Thrones.
posted by cazoo at 10:07 AM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are the audio books recorded human voices, or electronic text to speech? If is the latter, she might be getting tired of hearing the same voice for everything, you can add other voices on the iPad.

There is loads of information about using Apple devices for blind and partially sighted people on Apple Vis.
posted by Helga-woo at 4:32 PM on January 6, 2014

I hated listening to audiobooks until I realised it was empty hands. I have to be physically moving or have my hands involved in something to listen to an audiobook, or my mind wanders. It can be something basic like knitting, mending, tidying up, even colouring in pages, but I need to have my hands occupied or to be walking briskly somewhere.

You can learn to knit/crochet while blind, so blurry vision should be fine. Clay modelling (fimo and other air-dry stuff is very tactile and can be done on a tray with very minimal mess). Latch-hooking rugs is very tactile and on a bigger scale and easy to pick up.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:55 AM on January 8, 2014

In the vein of Papa Sangre II, there are also Blindside, Vanished, Freeq and Codename Cygnus. (caveat: I haven't played most of those, so that shouldn't be construed as necessarily a recommendation).
posted by juv3nal at 11:48 PM on January 8, 2014

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