Monday, June 18 , 2018, 3:01 am | Fair 52º

 
 
 
Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Managing Business Affairs With Low Vision

Simplify your life with technology

Handling your business and personal affairs can be a delicate balancing act: keeping track of multiple bank accounts, monthly budgets, bills and everything in between. And if you have low vision or have recently been diagnosed with an age-related eye disease such as Macular Degeneration, the process can become overwhelming and frustrating.

So how do you adapt to life with low vision and also keep up with the demands of your day-to-day financial affairs?

The key is to incorporate new techniques into your financial planning routine. If you realize that the small print on your checks or bank statements is becoming difficult to read, call your bank and request large-print checks and deposit slips. They cost the same as standard checks and banks are required to provide them to you upon request.

Many banks also have ATMs with large-print touch screens, talking features and raised type. Remember, in the age of identity theft, always enter your PIN number yourself when using a debit card. Never allow anyone else to do it for you.

Technology Is Your Friend

For people dealing with vision issues there are a variety of devices on the market that can make everything from reading the newspaper to organizing your bills a lot easier.

“I see hundreds of clients a year and the majority of them have lost some vision due to age-related eye diseases,” said Braille Institute Low Vision Rehabilitation Specialist Leslie Burkhardt. “My first objective is to show them that incorporating simple technology such as hand-held lighted magnifiers into their daily routines can make their lives easier, rather than more complicated.”

Access Technology Specialist Greg Benavidez, of Braille Institute’s Santa Barbara Center, also helps his clients connect with technology that can make their lives easier and more fulfilling. Some of the available resources for people with low vision include software such as Zoom Text, a program that allows text to be magnified up to 36 times its normal size on a computer screen. This can be a great tool for people who would otherwise have trouble reading the small print on their computer.

“It’s important for people to realize that you can continue to manage your life independently, even with low vision,” Benavidez said. “We help people learn how to do things differently, how to simplify their lives so that they can do all the things they did before their vision started fading.”

Streamline Your Process

One of the most common concerns people with low vision have about handling their finances is their handwriting ability. To overcome difficulty locating signature lines on checks or other documents, Braille Institute also offers free signature guides and templates that have slots to define writing areas. These items make signing your name a snap.

If shuffling grocery lists with hastily scribbled notes isn’t as easy as it used to be, online shopping is also an option and can even save you money. When you do head out to shop, visit the store’s website first to see what items they carry. When grocery shopping, organize your list to follow the layout of the store to avoid backtracking. And don’t forget, many grocery stores now offer home delivery, which can save you a trip.

At Braille Institute’s Santa Barbara Center, located at 2031 De La Vina Street, clients learn everything from how to use computers to pay bills online, to using simple techniques and tricks to make managing their finances less of a hassle. They also learn how to use devices such as closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) for the magnification of printed materials like letters and bills. But most importantly, they learn how to live fulfilling lives with low vision. And all of the services offered at the Santa Barbara Center are free of charge. If you would like more information about the free services offered by Braille Institute, please call us at 805.682.6222 or visit our Web site.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

 

Special Reports

Heroin Rising
<p>Lizette Correa shares a moment with her 9-month-old daughter, Layla, outside their Goleta home. Correa is about to graduate from Project Recovery, a program of the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, and is determined to overcome her heroin addiction — for herself and for her daughter. “I look at her and I think ‘I need to be here for her and I need to show her an example, I don’t want her to see me and learn about drugs’,” she says.</p>

In Struggle to Get Clean, and Stay That Way, Young Mother Battles Heroin Addiction

Santa Barbara County sounds alarm as opiate drug use escalates, spreads into mainstream population
Safety Net Series
<p>Charles Condelos, a retired banker, regularly goes to the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics for his primary care and to renew his prescription for back pain medication. He says Dr. Charles Fenzi, who was treating him that day at the Westside Clinic, and Dr. Susan Lawton are some of the best people he’s ever met.</p>

Safety Net: Patchwork of Clinics Struggles to Keep Santa Barbara County Healthy

Clinics that take all comers a lifeline for low-income patients, with new health-care law about to feed even more into overburdened system. First in a series
Prescription for Abuse
<p>American Medical Response emergency medical technicians arrive at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with little time to spare for victims of prescription drug overdoses.</p>

Quiet Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse Taking a Toll on Santa Barbara County

Evidence of addiction shows an alarming escalation, Noozhawk finds in Prescription for Abuse special report
Mental Health
<p>Rich Detty and his late wife knew something was wrong with their son, Cliff, but were repeatedly stymied in their attempts to get him help from the mental health system. Cliff Detty, 46, died in April while in restraints at Santa Barbara County’s Psychiatric Health Facility.</p>

While Son Struggled with Mental Illness, Father Fought His Own Battle

Cliff Detty's death reveals scope, limitations of seemingly impenetrable mental health system. First in a series