Wet AMD: 20 Home Modifications for People With Vision Loss
Certain modifications don’t only apply to any single room in your home but can be used in any space where they may be useful.
1. Eliminate tripping hazards.According to Levine, common tripping hazards include small area rugs, electrical cords, foot stools, and any items that may protrude into your footpath. These objects should be removed to ensure that walking surfaces and pathways promote safe movement.
2. Provide contrast between light switches and wall surfaces.When a switch plate is similar in color to the wall surface, it can be difficult to locate. Levine recommends changing these panels to provide maximum contrast with the wall.
3. Avoid flooring with patterns or stripes.Flooring that’s too busy can be visually confusing or uncomfortable to look at, Levine says. Simple colors and uniform textures make it easier to differentiate the floor from objects and furniture.
4. Use adjustable window coverings to reduce glare.In any room, says Levine, it’s important to use windows coverings, such as blinds or drapes, that allow the user to control the amount of light entering a room and prevent glare from interfering with daily tasks.
Hall, Stair, and Doorway Modifications
When you’re moving between different areas of your home, it’s important to reduce your risk of falling.
5. Mark steps and stairways.If there are different levels in your home — even if it’s just a step or two — it’s important to provide some type of visual identification between changes in level to prevent falls. Adding strips of bright color on stair edges can help, as can a stair covering (carpet or paint) that contrasts with the floor.
It’s also helpful, Levine says, to have a textural differentiation to indicate where a stairway meets a landing so you don’t miss a step or anticipate one that isn’t there.
6. Install railings or handholds.Every stairway needs to have a railing on at least one side, and installing them on both sides increases safety.
Additionally, grab rails or hand holds can be strategically placed in any area of the home that’s tricky to maneuver, Levine says.
7. Paint doors and door frames for maximum contrast.Doors and door frames should be easily recognizable within each space and contrast with adjacent wall surfaces to allow you to easily determine whether a door is open or shut, Levine says.
Some of the most complex tasks you perform each day are likely to take place in your kitchen, so it’s an important room to focus on when making modifications.
8. Provide contrast between the countertop and the floor.When your central vision is impaired, Levine says, it can be hard to see where the countertop ends if the floor is a similar color.
You can eliminate this problem by providing contrast between the countertop and flooring, or by putting a strip of colorful tape or some sort of decorative transition material at the edge of your kitchen counters.
9. Choose dishes that contrast in color with your countertop and tablecloth.While this isn’t essential for most people, Levine says, using dishes that stand out can make them easier to locate and less likely to be dropped.
10. Replace shiny or slippery flooring.Some kitchens have ceramic tile floors that are prone to glare from sunlight and become slippery when wet. Replacing this type of flooring is often worth the cost to help prevent accidents in the kitchen, Levine says.
11. Label containers for foods and medications.Try color-coding labels according to the contents of the container. It’s also important to use a simple font (without serifs) in large type, and to make sure the color of the font contrasts with its background, Levine says.
12. Use under-cabinet task lighting.Installing lights under your kitchen cabinets doesn’t have to be expensive, and it can make it a lot easier to see what you’re doing. “It’s actually an energy-saver as well,” Levine notes, “because you’re not lighting the whole kitchen.”
Bathrooms can also be a tricky area for people with visual impairments, especially because of the risk of slipping on a wet surface.
13. Use only nonslip rugs and mats.Items with rubber backing that contrast with the floor color are the best choice.
14. Choose towels that contrast with your wall.As with countless other items, hanging towels that stand out from their background makes them easier to locate.
15. Modify your bathtub or shower.Walk-in showers and step-in bathtubs promote independence and eliminate the need to climb over a barrier to bathe, Levine notes.
Installing a grab bar and nonslip treads in your shower area can also reduce your risk of falling.
If space permits, you may consider putting a bench in your shower to make certain tasks easier. It can also help to use pump dispensers for shampoo and soap to limit the complexity of opening and closing containers.
16. Install a magnifying mirror.An adjustable magnifying mirror that’s mounted to your wall can improve your ability to see your facial features and complete basic grooming tasks, Levine says.
Bedroom and Living Room Modifications
While bedrooms and living rooms tend to be areas for rest and recreation, it’s still important to make sure you can navigate them easily.
17. Contrast furniture from walls and flooring.Place items like throw pillows and blankets on beds and sofas to improve your ability to locate them within the room.
18. Improve closet lighting.You can install additional lighting in closets to make it easier to locate items, Levine says.
19. Position your TV to reduce glare.Place your television where glarewon’t interfere with the image, or where glare can easily be controlled with adjustable window coverings.
20. Keep handheld magnifiers handy.In areas of your home where you complete tasks like reading fine print or performing work that requires intricate detail like sewing, low-vision magnifiers can help reduce eye strain and allow you to see the details of an object.
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