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If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with a visual impairment, you’re probably thinking about ways to improve and modify a living space to make a home safe and comfortable. It can be overwhelming at first, but the key is to start small and work your way up. Sit down and make a list of any daily activities and how they’ll need to change; for instance, voice software that will aid with working on a computer.
You’ll need to do your best to add up all the expenses you expect to incur. You might find that moving will end up being the best option. At least add up the potential costs of moving, and compare. It’s important to think about function and safety over anything else. Here are a few tips on how to create a safe living space that will work well for you or your loved one.
Look at your lighting
The lighting in your home is extremely important. Natural light is usually preferable to individuals who have a visual impairment, but it will be necessary to have another means of lighting dark corners, closets, stairways, and the places you spend the most time.
Be careful about lighting that creates glare as certain types of flooring can become very shiny under bright lights and might create a fall hazard.
Make important things easier to find
It will be very helpful to mark important things–such as the thermostat, the knobs on the oven, and the edges of stairs–with brightly colored tape. Color and texture are extremely useful for people living with a visual impairment, so wrapping your toothbrush with a rubber band might help you differentiate between yours and the ones belonging to your spouse or other family member.
Your home needs to be safe first and foremost, so clear out any clutter in the main living and walking areas. Don’t forget to either remove throw rugs or tack them down to the floor so the corners don’t turn up and create trip hazards.
Contrasting colors are extremely helpful for the vision impaired, so consider painting the walls behind appliances and around light switches a bright color to make things easier. This is an especially helpful tip for the bathroom, where walls and appliances are likely to be white and blend in with one another.
Organize the pantry, closets, and cupboards and use a braille label maker to make small or similar items easy to find. Group like items together in a way that will make sense to you and memorize the groupings.
Think about safety
Disabilities of any kind require a new way of thinking about safety, so it’s important to think ahead and make sure smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers are in proper working order and in every room. It might also provide you with a bigger sense of safety to have a security system installed with a loud alarm.
Consider these factors and how you can either incorporate them into your current living environment. If moving might be a better option, try to see what you can find on the market that covers at least some of this. Chances are, you’ll still need to adjust, but investigate all your options, because doing so can make a huge difference when it comes to how much it’s all going to cost.
Guest writer, Jim Vogel, at Elderaction