Pittsburgh / Allison Park Senior Care Blog

Making Reading Easier for Seniors with Reduced Vision

By Erin Carll

Jim loved to read as a kid and even as an adult. He used to spend a lot of time perusing the shelves in the library and in bookstores looking for his next “great read.” But, when Jim reached his senior years, his vision began to fail and reading became difficult. Even the large print books were a strain on his eyes. Fortunately, Jim talked to his doctor about his love of reading and what he could do to keep on with his hobby. His doctor recommended that Jim try some adaptive devices to help him see the words on the page better, and today Jim is still spending hours a day immersed in a book.

If Jim’s story of nearly having to give up reading sounds familiar because your own parent is also struggling with low vision, there are several adaptive devices available that can help with many kinds of vision problems. Low vision devices can be useful not just for reading books, for many every-day tasks. They can make it possible for older adults to read mail, labels, reminder notes, and more without the aid of a family member or senior care provider. Here are just a few low vision aids that may be helpful to your parent.

Stand Magnifier

A stand magnifier is ideal for reading a book or magazine. They’re also a great option if your parent’s hands are shaky since they are mounted on a stand and do not require your parent to hold them above the page of the book. The magnifier is placed directly on the page of the book and can be moved along to magnify each line. Some stand magnifiers come with built in lights to make reading even easier on your parent’s eyes. They can be used in conjunction with regular eyeglasses.

Reading Telescopes/Spectacle-Mounted Magnifiers

Reading telescopes attach to your parent’s glasses and allow them to read text held at a normal distance. These devices do require the reader to have steady hands to hold the book still. They also make the field of vision smaller. Your parent might need some training to use them properly.

Hand-Held Magnifiers

Hand-held magnifiers are perfect for carrying along to stores, church, or other outside venues where your parent may need to read. They can be slipped into a purse or pocket and require no training to use. Some come with built-in lights, which can help eliminate shadows otherwise created by the device itself. They may not be ideal for long periods of reading as your parent’s hands could get tired from holding them.

Magnifying Reading Glasses

Magnifying reading glasses are portable and can be used for longer periods of reading because they don’t require your parent to hold anything. However, your parent may need to hold reading materials closer to their face, which can block out light.

While there are many devices available to help your parent continue to read on their own, there are many other tasks that become difficult for people with low vision. If that’s the case for your parent, hiring a senior care provider can help keep them safe and independent in their home. A senior care provider can help your parent with tasks around the house, such as cooking and light cleaning. Senior care providers can also help your parent with things like dressing, grooming, and other daily tasks.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Allison Park, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 201-0712.