Preparing your home for vision loss doesn’t have to be as difficult as you may think. The loss of vision can be difficult to cope with. However, experiencing low vision does not mean you can’t go on to live a meaningful, happy life.  According to the 1999 study by Adams, Hendershot, and Marano, decrease in vision is not as uncommon as one would think. Approximately 8.3 million persons of all ages are blind in one or both eyes or report some other trouble seeing. If you are currently starting to experience low vision there are a few adjustments that need to be made in your home to ensure your safety and allow you to maneuver with better ease.

One of the first items you will need to purchase are light bulbs that have a higher wattage than what you are currently using. If you have used 60-watt bulbs in the past, it would be wise to invest in 100-watt bulbs. You also may want to use a swivel lamp in certain rooms so you have the ability to direct the light in whichever direction it is needed. As for your windows, you will want to replace curtains with mini-blinds, as they cut down glare tremendously. For reading purposes, having a magnifying glass on hand will assist you in seeing smaller print.

If you have steps in the home, it is important that they are marked in a way that you can see them. You may have bright paint or tape applied to the stairs and of course, you will want to make sure a banister or handrail is sturdy and in place to give you balance while walking up or downstairs. In the beginning you may want to count each stair as you are going down them in order to familiarize yourself with the area.

As your vision becomes weaker, you may find that your other senses become heightened, or that you may rely on them more than you have in the past. Use your ears to localize sound such as a phone ringing or a knock at the door. Use your hands to find placement for things, such as setting your table. Always start from the edge, then work your way to the middle.

In the kitchen, it is imperative that everything is labeled and well organized. Utilize your shelves in the refrigerator for specific items, that way you will be able to identify what is on any particular shelf. For items that are similar in shape and may be hard to distinguish, such as milk and orange juice jugs, place a rubber band around one of the two. Your freezer should be organized in a similar manner, with your meats separated and labeled, a shelf for baked goods, and frozen vegetables in their own compartment.

If you currently use a lot of medications, consider housing your pills in a weekly medicine organizer. Your pills will be organized in a container from morning to night for all seven days. Using an organizer eliminates the hassle of trying to locate pill bottles and then identifying which pills you need to take. Place all the pills you will need for each day in their specific slot, and rest assured knowing that you have taken the correct dosage.

Managing low vision and maintaining your quality of life can be done successfully, there just needs to be a few relatively inexpensive adjustments that need to be made in your home. Life is ever-changing, and should you feel the need for outward support in coping with your lose of vision, there are several groups you may consider being a part of. With encouragement and optimism you can transition into this phase of life smoothly.

Guest Author: Jackie Waters

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