Caregivers with clients who have impaired vision may need to coach them extra through specific activities. If a senior client can read Braille, they might be more independent. However, a senior caregiver would benefit from also being able to read basic Braille to help them through daily life when they encounter it. For senior caregivers, the PocketBraille app provides a learning and reference tool.
The app provides basic categories for learning Braille, such as Alphabet, Numbers and Punctuation. Senior caregivers who want to learn the language might benefit most from sitting down with a notebook, pulling up individual letters and copying the specific symbol repeatedly. The alphabet section includes the symbols for both lower case and upper case letters.
The app also provides reference for Contracted Braille, which is when one figure stands for a whole word. It breaks these down into One Letter Word Contractions or One Symbol Word Contractions. When people read or write Braille, they simply need to write this one letter or symbol to communicate the whole commonly used word, instead of spelling it out letter by letter. Examples of words represented by contractions include for, his, this, not, etc.
The app also includes a section focused on Braille History, which explains that Braille was created in 1829, why it's represented as a series of dots and more. According to this section, the use of Braille has subsided in the past 30 years, but plenty of people with vision impairment still use it.
Senior caregivers don't need to memorize everything in the app, but can rather use it as a reference if a senior client who is new to Braille gets stuck or they want to learn a few basics to read along with their senior client. A phone screen lacks the ability to raise the Braille characters and feel them in the same way a deaf person actually uses them to read. However, the app is useful for those with good vision to pick up the basics.
The main capability that this app lacks is the ability to attempt to string together whole words. It would be nice if caregivers could practice writing a word or two, even if only to learn how to spell a senior client's name or write a simple sentence.
The PocketBraille Reference app is available for Apple platforms.
Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discovers additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist.