Working around the house can be a tedious chore for anyone but can be even more so with persons having any sort of disability. There are certain home improvement strategies, including both assistive and adaptive technologies, that can make life easier in the long run. Here are some tips and tricks to making your living environment more user friendly with specific ideas for persons living with a vision impairment.
Using Color Contrast to Your Advantage
The Blind Guide states: Having colors that are starkly different from each other can help a person with low vision get around the home easier. It’s best to use contrasting but solid colors, as patterned upholstery and rugs can be confusing to the eyes.” Using complimentary colors on the color wheel is the best way to achieve ultimate contrast. The basic complimentary color combinations are red/green, yellow/purple, and blue/orange. To learn more about color theory or to use an interactive color wheel calculator to help figure this out see Canva Color Wheel.
There are many other ways in which you can use color to your advantage including using contrasting colors to indicate a change in surface level, using brightly colored post-it notes to arrange bills and other important documents, painting door knobs and door frames a bright color, and using dinnerware that contrasts with the color of your table or tablecloth.
With a littler work and a little practice utilizing this trick will ultimately save you from frustration down the road. A few examples of daily living aids that illustrates the concept of using high contrast are:
Low Vision Black and White Cutting Board: One side is black to contrast with light colored food you are cutting. The other side is white to define dark foods being cut on this full-sized plastic, washable board.
Color Coded Measuring Spoon Set: Bright colors help differentiate the 4 measuring spoons. Spoons are made of sturdy plastic that is dishwasher safe.
Rainbow Pill Holder: Each compact box is a different color, with the day of the week and the four compartments marked, ‘Morning, Noon, Evening and Bedtime’.
Housecleaning with Safety In Mind
Housecleaning is important for a happy and healthy life. Doing so with a disability can be tricky but not impossible and eventually not overly hard once practiced. Live Accessible offers this YouTube video outlining her top 5 cleaning tips for the blind and visually impaired. A more in depth look at cleaning with vision loss can be found on wikiHow.
Both assistive and adaptive aids can be beneficial in keeping a clean and organized home. A good first step before bringing any big items into your house is to ensure that it will fit in the space you intend for it. Using a Talking Measuring Tape is a fast and easy way to ensure a proper fit.
Vantage Mobility provides a few examples of devices that can help you work smarter and not harder around the house:
Vacuum Robot: Most models work quite well on carpets and swerve their little dirt-munching bodies under every available surface. Newer models even have sensors that detect what area of the house the cleaning bot has visited, so it won’t get stuck cleaning just one area. Most modern models also let you set a cleaning schedule, and a few fancier options even let you program the robot to return to its dock after cleaning and stay there until its next scheduled session.
Floor Mopping Robot: These ferocious scrubbers are nearly identical in operation to the vacuum robot, but they have a water reservoir to scrub clean your hardwood, linoleum or tile floors.
In addition to color contrast and cleaning other ways to help ensure everyday items are clean and secure include keeping desk and table chairs pushed in, keeping pathways free of clutter, utilizing tactile assistance markers to help locate various areas in the house, using handle bars near the toilet and shower, using non-skid, non-glare cleaning products on any non-carpeted floors, taping down any area rugs, and making sure that all exits are marked.
These are just a few suggestions on how to make your home easily accessible and safe. To learn more about home safety and for further suggestions check out this Bright Focus Foundation article about living with low vision.
Lighting Is Important
An article on home modifications for the visually impaired found at Hire a Helper states, “You will want to provide plenty of light in the areas of the home that are used for recreation, reading and socializing. Light should always be aimed at the point of focus, i.e., where you will be doing work, not at the eyes.”
Things to remember when considering lighting include using floor and table lamps, using lighting that is between 60 and 100 watts, allowing for natural light using blinds and curtains, ensuring light is uniform, and keeping flashlights readily accessible.
An easily accessible small light flashlight that can carried around with you is the Lil Larry Light. At only 6.25″ high, it has a high power 250 lumen COB LED light, which can be changed between a high or low setting and a flashing emergency red light. it is water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about getting it wet.
It’s important to experiment with lighting to see what works best and where it works best. The lighting used in the kitchen may not be the best light for the bedroom. To learn more about lighting see our previous blog Light Bulbs Explained.
Once everything is in place and lighted correctly grab a book sit back and relax with this TheraBeads Neck Collar. It is ideal for soothing the neck and upper shoulder area after a hard day’s work.
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