Now that the Delta variant has arrived, it is time to think about keeping up with the supplies that we need to keep a household going while staying safe. Being aware of how to take care of your shopping and health and safety needs in a pandemic or other crisis is a critical skill. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people who are blind or visually impaired has been major, as found in a the Flatten Inaccessibility Survey conducted in 2020 by the American Foundation for the Blind, the American Printing House for the Blind and others. Access to transportation, food, supplies, medications, COVID testing, and vaccines were all greatly affected by the pandemic. As one respondent said, “…sometimes I may fall through the cracks when getting food or shopping when someone cannot just be right there, and I must now plan different[ly].”
In her post in March, VisionAware Peer Advisor Lenore Dillon laid out steps to shopping wisely. She talked about the importance of taking an inventory so you know what you have in stock and can plan around it.
Another critical part of planning is how to store the items you’ve purchase. Lenore also addressed this in her post on food storage during COVID. She covered how and where to store foods, labeling containers, and how to read labels with devices such as the pen friend. She stressed developing a system.
For ideas about planning what you should prepare, Lenore also has come to rescue with her post on what’s for dinner in which she discussed steps to follow in meal planning along with techniques for creating lists and accessing them.
How to Obtain Supplies
Empish Thomas, another VisionAware peer, addressed this topic even before the pandemic. She wrote a post about pick-up or delivery and discussed options to consider. These may not be available in your area, but perhaps there are others that you haven’t considered. For example, if you like prepared foods, some communities offer Grubhub and Doordash, which also offers grocery selections.
Transportation to Purchase Supplies, Get Vaccinations, and Meet Other Needs
Transportation may be tricky, especially if you live in a rural setting. Even in urban areas, getting a rideshare such as Uber or Lyft may be difficult. We covered some transportation resources in our post on COVID and transportation. That post referenced the ElderCare Locator, which provides information and referral for older people and people with disabilities. If you need assistance with finding needed services including transportation, contact the Eldercare locator at 800-677-1116 or go to their website.
As a result of the pandemic, the Administration for Community Living has just set up DIAL—the Disability Information and Access Line which provides help with COVID-19 vaccinations for people with disabilities. You can call 888-677-1199 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern) – or – email [email protected]
The DIAL’s staff is available to:
- Help find local vaccination locations
- Assist with making vaccination appointments
- Connect callers to local services – such as accessible transportation – to overcome barriers to vaccination.
According to their site, “The hotline also can provide information and resources to answer questions and address concerns about the vaccines and can connect callers to information and services that promote independent living and address fundamental needs, such as food, housing, and transportation.”
According to the CDC, booster vaccinations are scheduled to be available in the fall, so you may want to prepare yourself if you are planning on getting a booster. Read more about the need for boosters. COVID Booster Shot: Do I Need It? (ncoa.org)
In summary, as we began this new year, Audrey Demmitt addressed the issue of staying hopeful while your life is on hold. She discussed looking at 2021 as a time to challenge ourselves to take control of our lives. As we continue to go through this pandemic and other crises that seem to occur every day, it is time to revisit her words of wisdom, “As with learning to live with blindness, this season of physical distancing has been an opportunity to develop new skills that will help us adjust and prepare for the next crisis. Who knew blindness and pandemics had so much in common?”