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Using technology for more independence with impaired vision

Jean suffers from impaired vision, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be independent. With the help of a Google Smart Home device, she has overcome many challenges.

Life took an unexpected turn when Jean, an 87-year-old client, started to lose her vision. It is about nine years ago when the former teacher experienced first signs of a macular degeneration condition – age-related blindness.

Everything in Jean’s life changed when she lost her vision.

“I was living in Victoria, and when I gradually started losing my eyesight, I had to move away from the countryside because it was so remote, and I became dependent on others. Everyone said ‘we will help you’, but that is not good enough. In the end, you are alone with the condition,” she said.

Becoming dependent was challenging for Jean who strives to do as much by herself as possible.

“I dislike asking people to do something for me. I like to do things by myself.”

Today, she lives by herself in a house with only her dog, and one of her daughters living 5 minutes away.

Living with blindness takes its toll. When it is light, Jean recognises shapes of objects, and when she is very close to an object, she can even see slightly more detail. Reaching out to turn on the lights at night or realising in bed that she had forgotten to turn off devices in the living room became great obstacles and potential fall hazards for Jean.

From darkness to light with Feros Care

It was not long ago when Jean signed up for Feros Care’s Google Smart Home service. She recalls “I had a flyer in the mail, saying Feros offered some kind of technology that can help to make things easier in life. That sounded wonderful. I talked with my daughter about it who signed me up.”

Soon, Jean learned how to make technology work for her. “I use it every single day! I particularly like controlling the lights and devices with just my voice, but I also use Google Smart Home to build my shopping list, which gets sent to my daughter’s phone. She then just drops off everything I ordered.”

Jean also said it is difficult for her to have a feeling for time as she cannot see the degree of light that is coming from the outside. “It’s just so good when you are waking up in the dark, and you don’t know what time it is. You can just ask Google.”

While Feros Care’s Google Smart Home service supports Jean with her daily routines, it also brings her joy and company: “I am a follower of the AFL, and she [Google] keeps me updated on the scores. It’s funny – I say ‘she’. I know it’s a machine, but it’s just so lovely to have someone to talk to.”

Google Smart Home can support seniors

Google Smart Home also supports Jean with another condition called Charles Bonnet Syndrome. This syndrome is more common among the elderly who lose their sight. Individuals experiencing the syndrome see visual hallucinations, which can be quite emotional. Using Google Smart Home and listening to music or the radio can help Jean to relax and overcome the unpleasant moments.

Jean cannot imagine a life without Google Smart Home.

“Honestly, I would not like to be without Google anymore. I really don’t want to be without it, and I would love to live long enough to see what technological advancements we make in the future.”

Jean is using Google Smart Home in her everyday life, improving her quality of life significantly. The technological features are supporting Jean adapting to her medical conditions and give her peace of mind. She has become an advocate for technology and will enhance her home with additional Google devices, such as adding voice control to her ceiling fans.

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