Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mom's vision decreasing...

To those who want more info about my Mom:

Dad died in Septemmber 2007, so Mom is living alone now. She is 93, still active, and, until recently, was doing fairly well for her age. She has had a slight vision problem for years, but since February her vision has suddenly gotten much much worse. She can still see enough to get around the buildings -- to pick up mail, visit freinds, go to the dining room or bank branch, talk to folks at the office, and get her exercise by walking from one end of the apartment building to the other a couple times a day.
However, she can no longer use the computer (stopping her daily chatting with the folks from around the world on the "Elders" list) and she cannot see regular playing cards well enough to use anymore (stopping both her main social activity and her preferred solitary pass-time).

We (my husband Jim and I) took up a number of low-vision aids with us when we went to visit her the end of April. (She's in Roseburg, Oregon, a day's drive from us.)

She liked (and can use) the talking clock, the raised dots to mark certain 'buttons' on her microwave, the signature alignment tool (for signing checks), and the FOUR-COLOR LARGE-NUMBERED PLAYING CARDS.

Unfortunately, she could not use any of the computer enhancements or the "reader" -- a CCT enlargement machine that helps some folks with reading text. We brought her a 'loaner' and she tried it out, but even that was too hard to read.

We tried to arrange ways she could get food without using the stovetop, for fear of setting more fires or burning herself again. She is determined to do everything herself, but (hopefully) has finally decided that the range is too dangerous to use alone anymore.

Together we got most of her bills taken care of to reduce the amount of mail she has to deal with, and Jim&I encouraged her to have someone stop by every day to help with meals, laundry, and other tasks. (She lives in her own apartment in a wonderful senior community; with folks just a button-push away in case of emergency.)

Oregon has a state agency that helps folks and one of their staff came to talk to Mom. So she heard lots of options from a professional and could choose the ones she wanted to use. At her age, learning Braille is not realistic; but there is a "books on tape" program that she will be trying out. (Dad was the avid reader; Mom usually played solitaire instead. But she'd going to try listening to books now.)

All in all, it's a tough situation to be in. But Mom was much happier when we left than she had been when we arrived. I think mostly because she was able to get out and play with her friends again. And partly because she now knows that there ARE some things that can help her continue to do most of what she was doing before. We're still working on the email part. Nothing so far has worked. Next I'm going to try picking up her emails, printing them out, and mailing them up to her. Then she can dictiate replies to me over the phone. Not my favorite solution, but having someone "play secretary" for her once a week didn't pan out.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing.

Hope you are all doing well.

ps: Mom's name is Eunice Jerred Richter, Dad's was Elmer Richter.

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Coming late to painting and other 'traditional' outlets, I've been enthused by making Artist Trading Cards since 2004. I prefer to trade face-to-face, but also trade online thru several forums and lists. My ATCs include digital and hand-crafted originals, as well as photos of larger art pieces. My TV and radio shows are not included here, but current radio shows can be heard thru the stations archives at: I hope you enjoy this and will share your own similar experiences. (See my old bio at for more details.)