For individuals who are visually impaired, learning to navigate around a home–even one they’ve been accustomed to for years–can be frustrating and overwhelming. For individuals who are visually impaired, learning to navigate around a home–even one they’ve been accustomed to for years–can be frustrating and overwhelming. It’s important, then, to ensure that the house is safe and accommodating in all areas and will work for your loved one rather than against them. Organization is one of the biggest keys to keeping someone with a visual impairment safe, healthy, and happy, but it’s also important to know what items to stay away from and how to create a living space that will help the individual maneuver safely through.
Here are a few of the best ideas on how to do it.
For people with low vision, lighting is key. Three-way bulbs or ones that simulate natural daylight are best, and it’s important to make sure they don’t create a glare, which can be distracting or a hazard. Keep the lighting consistent throughout the home so that shadows are banished, and don’t forget to light up closets, pantries, and stairways.
On hardwood flooring, use a non-skid wax to prevent glare and falls. Get rid of throw rugs, which can cause trip hazards, and de-clutter the entire house. Make sure walkways are clear and that the individual will have plenty of room to move. Staircases should have sturdy railings and be well-lit.
It’s important to create organization in every room, especially the kitchen, where accidents can easily occur. Pots and pans that get used most often should be kept together, preferably in a cupboard near the stove. Items in the pantry should be kept with like items, with shelves labeled clearly for those with low vision.
In the bathroom, organize medications and keep them in their original bottles. Label clearly or mark with a raised alphabet sticker to prevent confusion. Store each one on a different shelf.
Make sure all living areas and hallways are easy to navigate and free of clutter. If certain rooms are cramped or over-populated with furniture items, home decor, or other clutter, such stacks of old magazines or books, clean out those spaces as much as possible. Move furniture to storage and donate other usable items.
Color contrasts are extremely important for individuals with impaired vision. For instance, painting the walls a dark color with light furniture–or vice versa–will help your loved one maneuver through living spaces easily. Contrasting doors and doorknobs are also helpful, as are light switches, stove knobs, and other appliance fixtures.
Keeping bills and other important mail sorted is important, and some individuals might need help from a trusted friend or family member to read and go through it. Having an organized filing system will help keep everything separated by due date or importance, so a large drawer full of file folders that can be clearly marked will be essential.
Preparing your home for a person with a visual impairment does not have to be as complicated as you you might think. Follow the above advice, and you’ll find that you can make a significant difference without a great deal of hassle.