by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
With the holidays fast approaching, many shoppers are rushing to buy those final gifts we need for our loved ones. This can be challenging for those of us with vision loss. With that in mind, The Chicago Lighthouse provides some pointers to make your last-minute shopping easier:
1) If you’re planning on visiting a physical store, pre-plan your transportation, whether you’re taking an Uber or a cab, relying on a ride from a friend or family member, or even taking public transit. It is also wise to plan for the best method of transportation based on your shopping needs.
2) Plan ahead if you need assistance in a store. Call the store(s) to ask for someone to assist you when you’re there. Or check into where to ask for help in the store once you arrive.
3) Consider shopping with friends or family. They can be an invaluable resource because they may already know your preferences and can help describe gift ideas like jewelry and clothing. Shopping with your loved ones can also make for a fun shopping trip.
4) Consider shopping online at big-box stores like Target or Walmart that offer in-store pickup or curbside delivery options. You can shop independently from the convenience of your own home using your computer or another internet-connected device with a screen reader.
5) And finally, you can shop online using assistive technology and opt for home delivery. Be aware that many online retailers have shipping deadlines for Christmas deliveries and that there may be shipping delays.
Here are some helpful apps for shopping and traveling independently:
Lazzus gives users who are visually impaired real-time updates regarding their surroundings and can assist in locating local businesses or transit stops, increasing independence and mobility. Download the Lazzus app here on the iOS App Store for Apple products or here on the Google Play Store for Android.
Mapp4All uses GPS technology to allow users who are blind or visually impaired to move around their environment independently, describing transit options, local businesses, and even potential dangers in the area. Download the Mapp4All app here on the Google Play Store for Android.
Be My Eyes connects users who are visually impaired to sighted volunteers who can assist through live video calls while shopping. Download the Be My Eyes app here on the iOS App Store for Apple products or here on the Google Play Store for Android.