Holiday Parties with Folks Who See Well: Plan so You Don’t Get Parked!

A lighted Christmas Tree with gifts under and a black lab guidedog sitting beside it. The hand of its owner is holding the harness.
A lighted Christmas Tree with gifts under and a black lab guidedog sitting beside it. The hand of its owner is holding the harness.

 

This is the season for parties, and if your loss of vision is serious enough not to recognize other people easily, you need to plan ahead. A party with everyone moving from place to place can be enjoyable or it can be hard work. The more you know about the guests and the set up beforehand, the more chance you have to remember the party with pleasure, or at least some satisfaction.

 

Here are 10 tips for the visually impaired or blind party goer:

  1. Phone the host and find out the number of guest and who they are; the type of food (buffet, sit-down or snacks), and if there is any special focus like playing a game or watching a show
  2. On the phone try to get a job however tiny at the party. This will give you people to talk to, and a place to stand and be easy to approach
  3. If you don’t have a partner to go with, phone another of the guests and aske her to give you some help, specially ask if you can eat together
  4. If there will be more than about fifteen or twenty guests, consider phoning another guest as well to have more back-up support for getting another drink and finding the bathroom, also rescuing  you if you get stuck in a corner
  5. If someone is giving you a ride, find out in the car how long he means to stay. As you arrive, have him show you the bathroom, the drinks table and the snacks
  6. Make sure your coat has something about it you can definitely recognize in among all the other dark coats and jackets , or put it in a special place
  7. Stand near the entrance so you can recognize voices, and maybe shapes as people come through the pinch-point at the door. It’s a good vantage point to find people you know.
  8. Don’t let yourself get “parked” in an armchair somewhere, stay standing until you find a group to sit with
  9. If you don’t have a companion or assistant, get yourself over to the drinks table and stand nearby; People will come up to refill their cups or glasses and you can start a conversation
  10. Choose non-drippy easy-to-manage foods, or take your plate and sit down somewhere, while you concentrate on the food. Happy Holidays!

 

 

2 thoughts on “Holiday Parties with Folks Who See Well: Plan so You Don’t Get Parked!

  1. These are great tips, I would add one more. Bring your white cane, or dog guide if at all possible. It helps others know that you may need some help without having to say to each person “I have a severe vision loss”. My dog guide is a great ice breaker. I also ask my host prior to the event if it is OK if I bring my guide dog, and if so where would be a good place to take him out to relieve. There are times when the event is so crowded that I choose to leave him at home and take my cane.

    1. Hi Leah,
      Happy New Year! Thanks for your excellent addition to the post. I quite agree with you. I remember back when I was new to vision loss that bringing out my white cane at a party would have seemed awful! I was so unsure of my identity and wasn’t ready to disclose my sight loss in such a public way. Now I think of my white cane and even more your dog guide as great social tools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *