A Guide to Making a Comfortable Home for a Person with a Visual Impairment
One of the best things you can do for a person with a visual impairment is ensure his comfort at home. People who are able to be more confident and independent at home experience more comfort, so making some modifications to foster confidence and independence is key. Most are relatively simple and inexpensive, but if you need to make substantial modifications, there are financial resources available to help you. Here, we share suggestions for creating a comfortable home environment for a person with a visual impairment to help you get started.
Ensure Adequate Lighting
Adequate lighting in the home is an important part of creating a comfortable home. Increased lighting and the correct type of lighting ensure safety and make it easier to complete daily tasks. You either can install new lights with dimmer switches, or you can ensure that you have as many three-way lamps as possible. By making it possible to adjust the amount of lighting in a room, you help a person with a visual impairment get the correct amount of light he needs. Sometimes, too much light is more harmful than helpful because it creates a glare and causes issues for people with light sensitivity.
It also helps to place adjustable lamps and task lighting in areas where the person will read, cut food, make lunch, and so on. These lamps should emit light that is as close to natural light as possible, and they should include shades that help the person direct the light where he needs it most. Similarly, placing lights in dark areas such as hallways, bathrooms, and staircases ensures safety. Some people add LED lights to stair fronts or under railings, and others place nightlights in hallways and bathrooms and leave them on around the clock to make sure the light is on when a person needs it.
Ensure a Clean Home
People are most comfortable in a room that not only is free of clutter but also is clean. You can achieve both of these characteristics by hiring a housekeeper. For the most part, people with a visual impairment are capable of cleaning and organizing a home. However, a housekeeper provides extra help around the home and makes sure that all areas are clean, and therefore safe for everyone.
A housekeeper can come as often a needed, and it’s a good idea for the person with a visual impairment to share his needs with potential housekeepers before hiring one to ensure that his expectations will be met. The housekeeper may need to scrub the kitchen floor, scour toilets and showers, and clean the microwave rather than clean the entire house. Another option is to ask the housekeeper to do one level of the home one week and a different level of the home the next week.
Ensure Closets and Pantries are Organized
People with a visual impairment find it frustrating to be unable to locate items in closets and pantries. The more frustrated you become, the less comfortable you are, so it’s important to organize closets and pantries properly. There are a few options for closet organization including marking clothing with braille labels or small metal braille tags that reveal colors and patterns. People with low vision or those who do not read braille may wish to use buttons of various shapes and sizes to distinguish clothing; it’s helpful to sew the tags or buttons inside a shirt hem. Some people also choose to group similar pieces of clothing inside closets. Closet organizers and shelf dividers help keep items separate. And, some people use ice cube trays to organize small accessories.
As for the pantry, organization is key to knowing how much of a particular type of food you have and which food you are selecting when you reach inside. When organizing the shelves of the pantry, place similar items near one another. For example, make a shelf for cereal, one for rice and pasta, one for canned goods, and so on. You may find that objects of similar shapes and sizes are difficult to tell apart, so mark them with braille labels or labels with large print. Some people use a rubber-band system and keep track of items by the number of rubber bands on each.
Creating a comfortable home for a person with a visual impairment often means ensuring his confidence and independence. By having adequate lighting, hiring a housekeeper, and organizing closets and pantries, you’ll be well on your way to creating a home that a person with a visual impairment finds comfortable.
Image via Pixabay by Unsplash
Written by Guest Blogger Seth Murphy