By Jane Wolery MSU/Teton County Extension

During a statewide Extension training that our office coordinated and hosted, I commented to the group how much I rely on certain features on my cell phone.
Whenever we took a break, I simply set the timer on my phone and when the alarm sounded, we knew it was time to reconvene. My phone is only one of many devices I rely on daily to make my life easier. The same day as our conference, I was scheduled to present a portion of a webinar on “aging in place” and “assistive devices” and this left me thinking about all the devices available to us to make life easier.

 For many of us, the devices help us compensate for a changing ability. I believe my most important assistive device I use daily are my contacts or glasses. Sometimes I think about the pioneers who might not have had access to proper eye exams and equipment. I can only imagine how my uncorrected eyesight might have directly related to my survival ability. It is safe to say that any wild game more than three feet away would have been safe from becoming part of my meal. I’d have had a solely plant-based diet, because at least I could get close enough to see the garden.

In 2012, MonTech and the University of Montana Rural Institute Center for Excellence in Disability Education, Research and Service teamed up with Montana State University Extension to share the message about assistive devices for a variety of abilities and changing capacities. I thought, over the next few weeks, I’d highlight a few devices that may be of use to you or someone you know.
One of the pretty cool devices is called a PenFriend. This device is similar in size to a small flashlight. The pen comes with several stickers. Following the simple instructions, the pen and stickers can be programmed to “talk” to each other and the user. For instance, for a person with low-vision, the stickers can be placed on prescription bottles and programmed. When the user hovers the pen over the sticker, the pen talks…….
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Source: Choteau Acantha