I was working with a woman in her 80’s who let me know in no uncertain terms that aging was hard work, and living with vision loss made it even harder. She told me her low vision made her seem so much less able than she actually is, and she was afraid that living on her own would not be possible soon. When I probed a bit deeper, I discovered her frustration stemmed from not being able to tell what was in the can, box, or bag when she went to make meals, to being in the mood for a Sinatra CD and playing the Andrews Sisters instead.

After exploring a number of devices in IPAT’s Bismarck demonstration center, she fell in love with an audio labeller, the PenFriend. It is a simple, 3 button, pocket-sized device that comes with self-adhesive labels. To use it, you attach the labels to everyday items (like cans, boxes, bags and CD’s) and then use the PenFriend to record what is inside.

To operate, you just place the adhesive label on the item you wish to identify, touch the label with the device, hold down the record button and say what it is – done! Afterward, when you reach for a PenFriend labelled item, you just touch the device to the prerecorded label, listen, and no more Andrews Sisters when you wanted Sinatra!

Start this YouTube video to see the power of the PenFriend, and how easy it is to operate.



If you think this could be an answer to your continued independence, explore it as an option at the Bismarck demonstration center.


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