Betty using desktop video magnifierI first brought my mom to IATP in February 2022. She has macular degeneration with less than 10% vision in her left eye and reduced vision in her right eye. She no longer drives and is finding everyday things more difficult. She has been using regular magnifying glass items for a few years, but this was becoming a struggle. One of the major struggles she was having was the ability to read a recipe or the back of a package to understand the quantity or even the amount of time needed on the microwave. She lives independently but I would get at least a call a day to see if I had the same product and could tell her the information. (Google Photos was my friend!) This was extremely frustrating to my independent mom and I could tell that every call was making her feel “less” in her abilities.

We came to find what other options were available. I am a special education teacher, so I knew there was more that could be done. We had a wonderful time looking at all of the options. My mother is very “tech nervous” with new things, but the Demonstration Coordinator was wonderful in working with her insecurities. We left with a handheld device through the Reuse Program and another larger magnifying device from Device Loan to see if it would work for some other issues.

I no longer need to “look up” instructions and my mom has been confidently cooking and baking every day!!!! Not good for our diet in my house…lol. The spirit and joy that has accompanied this handheld device is not easy to describe. I see more confidence even when we go grocery shopping….yes, she brings it with her, so I don’t need to hover around in case she needs me to read something. This was something she really hated even though it was needed. She is now looking at new items in the grocery store and is willing to try them knowing she won’t need to call me for help.

The device we received from Device Loan didn’t work well for her. When we returned it to the agency, I was able to get her to look at the other desktop devices. I wanted her to try this style of device so she could regain some other passions….crossword puzzles, catalog shopping, looking at the grocery flyers for the best deals and reading the TV Guide. We were able to get a nice desktop video magnifier from the Reuse Program this time. Over the last three days she has called me at least 20 times with excitement about this new lease on life. She has read 3 copies of my TV Guide (she had canceled her subscription and got me one so I could read it to her!), all of her catalogs (I think she has started Christmas shopping already!), completed 4 crossword puzzles and we have a list of groceries to go get this Wednesday in 3 different stores!

I cannot stress enough the change in my mom over the past month with these independent devices. She has always been fiercely independent, and she was starting to feel like she was a burden to us. Now she can do the simple things in life everyday with confidence!

Submitted by Lisa, Betty’s daughter