Assistive Technology Lab Empowers Older Adults with Low Vision

Older adults with low vision have reconnected with their independence in a new assistive technology learning lab funded by the City of Seattle's Technology Matching Fund.

Low vision caused by age-related eye diseases compromises the ability of older adults to continue activities of daily life, self-care, and even social interaction. One nonprofit, SightConnection, enhances the ability of individuals with vision loss to lead active independent lives. The Technology Matching Fund provided Sight Connection with a wide selection of assistive technology devices for lab participants to experiment with for their personal goals.

Over 440 low vision lab participants discovered that assistive technology devices help them read, write, communicate and search online, and accomplish other tasks linked to independence.

At age 70 and living with macular degeneration, Barbara Reedal found an electronic magnifier and an iPad could help her write cards to loved ones, send emails, and read paperwork to become a kitten foster mother. She claims, "Things started looking better as soon as I became aware of everything available. My next goal is to use a smart phone and I know I can try it at Sight Connection."

Through the City of Seattle's Technology Matching Fund, older adults are living life with low vision on their terms and giving back to their community. Visit www.sightconnection.org to learn more about Sight Connection and the assistive technology learning lab.

Learn more about the Technology Matching Fund at www.seattle.gov/community-technology/for-organizations/technology-matching-fund.

Contributor Vicky Yuki originally published this article in Brainstorm, the City of Seattle's community technology e-zine.

Assistive Technology Resources

Assistive technology includes equipment, devices, and services that assist people with disabilities with daily living tasks, education, work, and recreation. Following is a sample of local resources:

Let's Loop Seattle

Northwest ADA Center

Smartphone Apps: Solutions in the Palm of Your Hand

UW Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology

Washington Access Fund

Washington Assistive Technology Act Program