Home Modifications for the Visually Impaired:
What are Your Options?
Visual impairments affect a range of individuals. From seniors to children, many people could benefit from specialized home modifications and adaptations. While some projects can be costly, there are also smaller adaptations that can make a big difference in safety and accessibility for little to no cost. Here are a few ideas for creating a more accessible and safer living space for yourself or a loved one with visual impairment.
Quick, Easy Fixes
There are plenty of small projects that you can likely do right now in your home. You might start by removing any trip hazards including rugs, cords, and clutter. For seniors with visual impairment, a fall can be devastating. Simply clearing walking paths and common traffic areas of clutter can save your aging loved one from a serious injury.
You should also ensure that all walkways in and around the home are wide and easily navigable. Navigating a convoluted traffic pattern can be very frustrating for someone with a visual impairment. Of course, it can also be detrimental to rearrange furniture frequently. A person with a visual impairment needs to be able to memorize the layout of their home in order to learn to move through it efficiently. Develop a functional, open layout and leave the arrangement alone so that your loved one can start to learn it.
Beyond reorganizing the home, there are a few other reasonably easy ways to make life simpler for your visually impaired loved one. Texturizing key items in the home can make it much easier to find things such as light switches, the end of a handrail, and outlets. You may also consider no-slip texturized matting to signal stairs, doors, and other potential hazards. If the individual’s sight is good enough to see bright colors, you might use colorful tape to outline the main walkways of the home.
Lighting is also vital to home safety for the visually impaired. Make sure that the home is brightly lit with supplemental lamps in places such as desks and countertops to provide additional lighting options in otherwise dim areas. A well-lit home helps prevent trips and falls and also aids people with visual impairment in navigating the home.
There are a number of larger scale projects that you can do to make your loved one more safe and comfortable. The kitchen is a good place to start given how much time the average person spends in their kitchen. Appliances specifically made for the visually impaired will contain textures and safety features your average appliance may not have. You can also add Braille labels to items such as measuring cups, cooking utensils, and spice jars.
For other areas such as the bathroom, useful projects include installing non-slip flooring, replacing any flooring or windows that create excess glare, and laying even pathways throughout the yard. The goal is to provide as much freedom and safety as possible while maintaining the usual comforts of home.
There are many ways to make a home more accessible to those with visual impairments. Simple projects such as reorganizing and replacing light bulbs with brighter alternatives can make a world of difference to anyone living with visual impairment.
Don’t feel pressured to make all the possible alterations at once. Collecting all the items needed for your loved one’s dream kitchen can be costly and may not be as helpful as tackling a high-glare floor. Prioritize your loved one’s needs, make the plans, and get started. Before you know it, you will have an accessible, safe, and cozy home for your loved one to enjoy.
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