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Modifying your home

Modifications to your home 

by Jackie Waters.

When you’ve recently learnt that you will be sharing your home with a relative with a vision loss it can be hard to know what modifications need to be made to ensure the home is accessible and safe.  When my sister in law came to stay I didn’t know where to begin. She had recently lost her vision and I wanted to make sure her new environment was as comfortable as possible and free from obstacles. There are a number of things to consider when adapting the environment but a home free of clutter and obstacles is a good start. If you are living with an  individual who has had a vision loss for most of their life  you can simply ask for specific advice on how best to prepare the home.

In other circumstances where the vision loss is new to the person it is recommended to make your home as comfortable and simplistic as possible. Especially in the early stages when they are adjusting to their changes in vision. This can be a difficult time for your child, spouse, parent, sibling, or friend who has lost vision and you need to be prepared to make sure your home and its surrounds is easy to navigate. Comfort Keepers offers great advice on modifying your home to alleviate the anxiety and discomfort often felt by those with a vision loss.

From my new found experiences, I have put together a list of four modifications that your home will need, regardless of age or situation. Let’s get started!

Stairs

If you have a young child with a vision loss and your home has stairs, take the time to block the stairs off at the top and bottom with a door or baby gate. This will prevent any unnecessary falls until the child is safely able to navigate them. If the person is older think about how comfortable the person feels travelling on the stairs and make adjustments where required such as marking the edge of each step and/or installing a rail.

Consider an open kitchen, living room, and dining room layout.

Fortunately, in most homes, knocking down an existing wall can provide the open concept living space that may suit an individual with a visual impairment who prefers moving around in this layout.  Alternatively, if you are not in a position to do this and you are keeping separate rooms, think about how you can open up your living space to make navigation and comfort easier for your family member with a vision loss. Also its important to use tactile orientation clues such as a large rugs or tiles/wood to distinguish one room from another.

Place barriers around dangerously open areas.

If there are areas within the home or garden  that are dangerous such as porches with no fencing and patios with slight drop offs, think about  installing  a fence on the porch or a barrier around small drop offs so there are no areas that could present as potential dangers for someone with a vision loss.

Think about color, contrast, and texture.

Individuals with low visibility may still be able to recognize contrasting colors. You can use this information as you modify your home. If your new roommate has no visibility, focus on texture. Braille and contrasting materials can really help with this process.

As you modify your home, remember you can seek help from professionals and family members.You can also ask your new roommate for preferences. Research and brainstorming will go a long way,  along with a touch of creativity.

Below are two helpful websites that will assist anyone who is thinking about making adaptions to their home.

 

 

 

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