My sister-in-law, who has lived with visual impairment for many years, recently came to live with my husband and me – and while we were incredibly happy to have her, we knew we were going to have to make some significant changes around the house to make it more accessible.
Knowing that many people likely face similar circumstances, I thought it would be a great idea to share some tips with the BlindNewWorld audience.
If you’re tasked with preparing your home for a person with a visual impairment, you may not know where to begin. Organization is key. From decluttering to storing medication and cleaning supplies safely to making sure she can find her way around your kitchen, organization is a must.
When you organize your living space, make sure that items are placed in sensible locations. Group similar items together and store items that are used at the same time with one another. This method of organization also will ensure that you keep all cleaning supplies in one location and that they are away from food items to avoid the chances of confusing them for food items.
An organized kitchen increases safety for everyone in the home.
- Place heavy pots, pans, and slow cookers in low areas so people do not have to reach above their heads to take them down and use them.
- Make one spot for storing knives, graters, and other sharp kitchen tools.
- Use covers or sheaths for these items and purchase broad-bladed knives to ensure better control.
- When cooking, place dirty knives behind the faucet instead of in the sink with other kitchen utensils.
- Clearly label foods and shelves with large lettering and contrasting labels and marker colors or braille labels.
- Store items in the same place every time to minimize confusion.
- When putting away groceries, it is helpful to label them first and to place multiples of items in rows from front to back on shelves or in the pantry; this organization strategy helps a person with a visual impairment to count items and know how many are on hand when making the next shopping list.
Lighting increases safety for people with low vision by decreasing the risk of falls and injuries.
- Make sure rooms are well lit with natural lighting, but install sheer curtains to block glare from outside.
- Install a light above the bathtub or shower to illuminate this often dark part of the bathroom.
- Use task lighting with the proper light bulbs to make it easier to complete everyday activities.
- Make sure that you have lights at the top and bottom of stairways at the very least; some people are adding small lights to stair faces and underneath stair railings to add even more light to stairs in their homes.
- As for outdoor lighting, make sure that you have installed lights to illuminate sidewalks, driveways, and stairways.
With extra attention to home organization and lighting, you can ensure the safety of a person with a visual impairment in and around your home.
Prioritize areas that are used frequently, but don’t ignore areas that pose significant risk, such as a poorly lit or inaccessible swimming pool. By taking steps to protect your visually impaired loved ones, you will help ensure their safety at all times and in all locations around your home.
Ms. Waters blogs at Hyper-Tidy.com, a community she created to share what she has learned over more than a decade of striving for cleanliness and sustainability. To connect with her, visit hyper-tidy.com or email her at Jackie@hyper-tidy.com.
Image via Pixabay by LouAnnClark