The prospect of losing your vision can be a scary one. We depend so much on our eyes and what they tell us about the world around us. Aside from showing us the beauty around us, our eyes tell us of the dangers ahead, such as a dangling electrical cord or an over-boiling pot. It’s no wonder that the prospect of losing vision is so frightening to many, particularly seniors who may fear that vision loss also means a loss of independence. But losing vision doesn’t necessarily mean losing your comfort of home. Advance planning can make life a lot easier for someone with diminished vision.
Enhancing a senior’s independence can be as straightforward as reducing clutter and making simple, low cost home modifications that make independent living safer and more convenient.
A general rule of thumb when making home modifications for seniors with impaired vision is to pay special attention to the basic concepts of lighting, color and contrast:
- Try to maintain continuous lighting levels throughout the home. If possible, install extra lighting in entryways, hallways, and at the top and bottom of each staircase to eliminate shadows or excessively bright areas.
- Install fluorescent ceiling fixtures for general room lighting, supplemented with incandescent, LED, or halogen lighting in desk lamps, table lamps, and floor fixtures.
- Use a bedside lamp with a “clap-on” feature, or one that can activate by simply touching the base.
- Use lampshades that are light-colored and translucent; generally, this type of shade allows the maximum transmission of light without glare.
- Solid, bright colors such as red, orange, and yellow are generally the easiest to see because they can reflect light.
- Distinguishing colors within each of the following groups may be more difficult for some people who have low vision:
- Navy blue, brown and black
- Blue, green and purple
- Pink, yellow and pale green
- Use brightly colored paint to mark pot handles and brightly colored tape to mark staircase railings.
- Place light-colored objects against darker backgrounds. A white sheet of paper is more visible against a brown desktop or dark blotter.
- Place dark objects against lighter backgrounds. A dark chair will stand out better against white or cream‑colored walls.
- Use white plates on a dark tablecloth, or place dark dishes on a white or light-colored cloth.
- Use a reversible black and white cutting board to provide contrast. For example, onions, potatoes and yellow squash will show up more clearly on the black side, while the white side will provide greater contrast with tomatoes and green vegetables.
A little help at home can greatly assist with daily activities. Call North River Home Care for a free in-home eldercare assessment. Our experienced caregiving team can provide an in-home assessment of your loved one’s surroundings and identify areas that should be adapted for added safety. Our staff can identify specific challenges with activities of daily living and help to provide solutions that may mean the difference between living safely in the comfort of home or a move elsewhere. We also provide services such as light housekeeping, transportation, and companionship, to make life easier. Serving the Boston, South Shore, and Cape Cod areas, call us at 781-659-1366 or fill out our web form to see what services we can provide and how you can help your loved one maintain his or her independence for as long as possible.