We are nearing the end of the year, but the holiday shopping has just begun. Between Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and Hannuka, you may be a bit stressed out over what gifts to buy for whom. When you have a blind or visually impaired friend or family member, the choice for suitable gifts can narrow significantly. Anything with text should be accessible. Gifts that are much more visual may present issues. To help with this difficult decision, here is a list of the top 7 holiday gifts to get for a blind friend or family member.
This is certainly the most life-changing gift on this list. OrCam MyEye 2, an intuitive device that’s the size of your finger, can read text, recognize faces, identify products and more. This gift will open up a whole new world to whoever is using it. No need for Audible or braille. OrCam MyEye 2 can read any printed or digital text. No need to awkwardly ask friends or family members to identify themselves. OrCam MyEye 2 will do that for you. No need to ask workers at the supermarket for help. OrCam MyEye 2 allows for an independent shopping experience. Identify colors, money notes, and even tell the time and date, all without even pressing a button. Click here to learn more.
Devices such as these can revolutionize your home-life, both if you are blind or a sighted person. However, particularly for people who are blind, connecting your home through smart speakers (such as Google Home or Amazon Echo) can make everything that much more accessible. Most of the items on this list, such as OrCam MyEye 2, talking microwave ovens, etc. can be connected to these devices via Bluetooth. Your entire home can become a smart home with just one of these devices. They are very easy-to-use, so even for someone with limited computer knowledge, setup shouldn’t be a problem.
Talking Microwave Oven
Talking microwave ovens are fully accessible to your blind or visually impaired friends or family. They conveniently announce everything, from “running cooktime” to “current power level” to “attend to food”. With a talking microwave, it will be much easier for your friend or family member to heat up his/her favorite meal or snack. You can adjust the speech volume, which confirms your selections of different commands, as you make them.
Voice Command Alarm Clock
Voice command alarm clocks are both accessible, in that they have enormous screens, and that they can be controlled entirely by speaking. A voice command alarm clock is the perfect gift for your blind or visually impaired friend who is never on time. They respond to commands such as being told the current time, the alarm time, the date, and more. These alarm clocks allow for multiple alarms and some can even tell you the current temperature (Fahrenheit or Celsius). They generally have great customization options, allowing the user to change the background color and some even allow for selection of different voices.
Misplacing items around the home can be a big hassle for someone who is blind or visually impaired. Nowadays, there are many kinds of trackers that can be attached to important items (such as a phone, wallet, etc.), which either can be tracked with an app or on the computer, or the tracker will make an intermittent beeping noise, allowing your friend or family member to keep track of its position. These devices can be an enormous help for people who are visually impaired. Everyone tends to misplace their phone, wallet, or keys. Having one of these would be a huge life-saver.
Thermostats tend to have small screens and not have any options in terms of accessibility. That all changes with a talking thermostat. Talking thermostats are very user-friendly, with many programming options. Talking thermostats are made to be easy to install and have enhanced speech functions. Any time you press a button, the thermostat will tell you what function you have just activated. As it is a particularly cold time of year, a talking thermostat can really warm up your friend or family member’s home, this holiday season.
There are a number of board games that have been made accessible to the blind and visually impaired, either with braille or very large print. From classic games such as chess and Monopoly to more modern games such as Bananagrams, no one should miss out on the family fun to be had by playing them. Check out our other blog post about the best-adapted games for the blind or visually impaired. Family game night is a night for everyone, regardless of their disability.
No one should be left out of the gift giving during the holidays. The best kind of gift for someone who is blind, is one that can truly change his/her day-to-day living. It is something that will actually improve their quality of life. Gifts for the blind are not easy to think of. We hope this list made your shopping trip much easier for this coming holiday season.