Adapting Your Home for Visual Impairment
Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that 253 million people in the world live with some form of visual impairment. If someone in your family falls into this category, you should consider adapting your home to meet their needs. This isn’t a difficult process, either: By making just a few small changes to your home, you can create a safer and more enjoyable living environment for family members who are visually impaired.
Keep Floors Free of Obstruction
Floors in your home—especially in high-traffic areas—should be kept clean and free of objects. Even small items, like a pair of shoes or dog toy, can create a serious hazard for individuals who are visually impaired.
Consider labeling common items and objects in your home. Visual impairment can make it difficult for individuals to distinguish between a salt shaker and pepper shaker, for instance. Labeling items such as these with bold letters, however, can help. Some common items to label include toothbrushes, deodorant, cosmetics, drawers, thermostats, detergent, medicine bottles, and others.
Illuminate Your Home
The brighter your home, the better. Dimly-lit rooms pose a hazard to the visually impaired. A simple solution is to illuminate your home using multiple overhead fixtures, free-standing lamps, and high-lumen bulbs. By increasing the lighting in your home, individuals who are visually impaired will have an easier time seeing.
It’s also a good idea to add nonskid rugs to your home. Traditional rugs increase the risk of slipping and falling, especially when placed on hardwood or laminate flooring. By comparison, non-skid rugs are designed with a special suction-like material on the bottom that creates a stronger grip with the floor and prevents sliding, which will foster a safer environment for people living with visual impairments.
Glare from a reflective surface like a glass window, coffee table, or TV screen can make it difficult for anyone to see. However, this is even more problematic for individuals who are visually impaired. Although none are completely foolproof, there are multiple ways to reduce glare in your home: These include installing window films, avoiding glass-top furniture, and adjusting the direction your TV faces.
These are just a few ways to create a safer home for family members who are visually impaired. Remember, though, no two cases of visual impairment are exactly the same. So, talk with your family member to find out what works best for him or her.