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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

help with deaf and blind nursing home resident

Elderly lady who has a pacemaker, diabetic,demented, deaf and cataracts so bad that she is blind now. The doctors do not feel comfortable in surgury for fear of infection in the eye from her scratching. She can not follow thru with directons very well. She is now walking into walls and furniture. Staff is leading her and feeding her. We feel she would forget a walker was there and fall over it or not know what to do with it. HELP!

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Re: help with deaf and blind nursing home resident

The possibility of losing my hearing scares me very much as I am 90 percent blind.

Re:help with deaf and blind nursing home resident

Occupational Therapist

If it comes to this

There is a nursing home near Columbus, OH that acccepts residents from all over the country. They are a Helen Keller affiliate that caters to the Deaf, Deaf/blind and hard of hearing population. It is their primary mission. The facility was built for that purpose by the Ohio School for the Deaf Alumni Association. They have a web site at

Communication for deaf-blind people

You might try contacting the Helen Keller National Center. They work specifically with people who have dual hearing/vision problems. You can reach their web site at From the opening page, go the HKNC. They have regional specialists and also a national specialist on aging.

But to give you some info, the most important thing is for the woman to get information in a way that she can better understand what is going on around her. This may mean that a special system needs to be set up for her, using objects to let her know what will be happening to her. When people know what is going on, and given choices, they sometimes act a lot more sane.

If the staff thinks about what things happen to this lady each day, and come up with some objects that represent those activities, the objects can be used to let her know what is coming. Such as, hand her a spoon when it is time to eat, a syringe (remove the needle) if she will be getting a shot, etc. These objects can be attached to a piece of wood or poster board and placed on the wall near her bed. Then, when it is time for an activity, just pull the object from the board and hand it to her. You might want to put each object on some cardboard first, so it becomes the symbol of what will be happening. If you have more questions, or need more info, contact me off the message board at

a few ideas

The following website,, lists some mobility and communication aids that might be helpful. And the Low Vision Society ( seems to have a lot of links for other resources.

Good luck -- I hope things are going better.

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