March 24, 2020

Social Distancing? So What Else Is New?


Social Distancing? So What Else Is New?

“Social distancing? Not a problem,” remarked an elderly member of my low vision support group. “I’ve been socially distant for years.”

“Absolutely,” said another. “The toughest issue with being alone was originally what to do to fill my time, but I’ve gotten pretty good at that.”

The session then took a detour from my planned presentation and turned to sharing all of the ways a “socially distanced” person can keep busy. For those who are visually impaired and finding themselves cut off even more from the world, here are some suggestions from our peers.

1. Access descriptive videos, which include narration to accompany the movies. has over 1,000 titles for rent, purchase or streaming.

2. Listen to National Public Radio.

3. Listen to audible books through

4. While listening to your books, do something physical to stay in shape. Floor exercises, weight lifting, stretching, or yoga will improve your body while you entertain your mind.

5. Join one or all of the following email, web, and telephone support groups:

Facebook Group (web social group): Search by name of condition or disease.

Hadley Discussion Groups.  A wide variety of interest areas.

MDList (email discussion group). Discussion about research and living with macular degeneration and similar diseases.

MDForum (web message board). Posts about research and living with macular degeneration and similar diseases.

Connect Well (telephone groups): Call (877) 797-7299 or email

TeleSupport (telephone group) Call (888) 866-6148 or email

6. Listen to educational and motivational presentations on a large number of topics from the MD Support Audio/Visual Library and Hadley Presents.

7. Write or record your life history for your grandchildren.

8. Take free online classes from Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired .

9. Start a garden. Learn how at Hadley.

10. Learn to play a musical instrument by ear. To get started, take a look at WikiHow.

11. Go for walks with a pet. (Yes, walking a pet is allowed in “lock-down” situations.)

12. Do large-print word search puzzles and crosswords, either online or in print.

13. Do jigsaw puzzles online.

14. Take up birding by purchasing a CD that identifies bird songs.

15. Call friends and family members. They would probably love to speak with you, but sometimes you just have to make the first move.

This is only a partial list. If you would like to contribute your own ideas, please send them to me for publication here. Let’s get through this together!

Dan Roberts, Editor-in-Chief
Living Well With Low Vision

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