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Modifications for Vision Loss
The following recommendations are suggested for adapting your home or apartment and include safety measures. Recommendations came from consumers and suggestions from the American Foundation for the Blind. Most adaptations are low-cost or no cost. As you consider appropriate adaptations, remember that they depend on the type and extent of your vision loss, as well as personal needs and preferences.
A chair by the window makes a good work space for some partially sighted persons. Be sure to make the most of natural light by using sheer or light curtains or adjustable blinds. Placing a chair by the window for reading may be desirable. Also good overhead lighting is the most even type of lighting and causes the least glare. It is also helpful to use lamps to supplement overhead lighting, especially near work spaces. Similarly, mirrors should be placed where they don't create glare. Use diverse colors for lamps if that's helpful for locating them.
Using color contrasting is helpful to partially sighted persons to differentiate between spaces. For instance, contrasting flooring or different colored area rugs helps define a room change. Colored flatware can offset your plates and bowls. Anything from bath towels to different colored paint for doors and door handles can define space more clearly. Furniture with a contrasting color scheme and different textures is also helpful.
Good organization is vital to persons with complete blindness or visual impairments, from keeping furniture in a regular place to remembering where everything is located. Of course sharp objects like knives or scissors must be accounted for. You may even consider using a database of your home inventory or other things, such as books in your library. Be sure to keep track of prescription bottles and label them. Always know where your telephones and fire extinguisher are located.
Do not place furniture in hallways or places that get a lot of walking traffic.
Make sure you have a non-skid foam rubber mat under each area rug. Avoid small throw rugs altogether because it's too easy to slip and fall on one. Avoid using wax on floors or selecting glossy flooring. Some people even prefer to mark the edges of stairs with non-skid adhesive rubber strips or paint a contrasting color to the rise portion of the step itself. Install a handrail on all sets of stairs; always hold onto the handrail just in case you lose your footing.
Make sure all electrical cords are taped down or stored out of the way. Why tempt fate?
Keep cabinet, closet, and interior doors all the way open or all the way closed so you won't bump into them. Keep chairs pushed in.
As an added precaution, buy an anti-scald device for the shower for yourself or anyone who is elderly living in your home, as skin can become less sensitive with age.
Lighthouse International also offers a series of videos, Living Better at Home. Click each segment to be taken to the video: