Saturday, January 12, 2008

Adding Braille in the household to help the visually impaired

During National Braille Week, a charity has said that while Braille can help those who have been blind from early life, older people may find it difficult to learn.Charity Royal Blind says that as sensitivity of touch diminishes in later life, it may be hard for the elderly to learn Braille, but adds that there is plenty that care homes can do for their older tenants who are losing their sight.

"Sensitivity of touch, governs the extent to which Braille is used. Those educated in schools for the blind use Braille far more naturally and easily than those who lose their sight in adult life and are almost invariably slow readers," said Richard Hellewell, chief executive of Royal Blind.

"The older people are, the more difficult it is for them to acquire the sensitivity of touch necessary for ease of reading," he said.

However, he added: "Elderly people with a sight impairment have mostly suffered loss of sight later in life, which makes it hard for them to learn Braille.

"There are many other things that can be done to make life in a care home better for those with a sight impairment such as using tactile signifiers at doors and providing handrails or guidelines in contrasting colours."

Age-related eye conditions are the most common cause of sight loss in the UK and 95 per cent of people with sight problems in the UK are 65 or over.

Macular degeneration or cataracts are major causes of sight loss in older people.


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