Whether you’re inviting a blind guest over for dinner or adjusting to a relative’s recent loss of vision, here are some tips to help make your home more accessible and comfortable.
Keep the Floor Clear.
Before your guest arrives, clear your floor of objects like shoes, toys, or books so your guest can navigate more easily.
Describe Your Home.
When your guest arrives, describe the setting as you would to any person, offering simple orientation to help your guest feel at home. Phrases such as “The living room has a couch on the left with a coffee table in front,” or “The bathroom is to your right,” can be helpful.
If you have a pet, let your guest know in case they have any allergies or issues. When they arrive, introduce your pet(s) so that your guest can become comfortable.
Describe what’s on the menu and offer to put a plate together for your guest. Envision a clock face to help your guest understand how the food is arranged on the plate. For example, you can say “The pickle is at 3 o’clock.” Or you can be more general and say “The chips are next to your plate.”
Provide Visual Updates.
Try to be conscious of what you and your other guests are seeing, and offer to describe what’s happening. If you’re admiring a friend’s new watch, describe the color and style. If a new plate of food is set out, or guests are arriving, talk about what’s going on.
Guide Your Kids.
If you have young children, discuss how to interact with your blind guests. Let them know if a guide dog will be coming and not to interrupt the service work of the animal by petting or playing with it.