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News and events index

14 February 2017

Home Safety Guide for the Visually Impaired

Being visually impaired or having experienced low vision will require you to take several steps necessary to maintain safety and functionality around your home. Although you may not be able to fully prevent accidents from happening all together, you can at least organise your home to meet proficient safety standards.

In-home accidents tend to happen more frequently than anywhere else, so if you are dealing with a visual impairment it is imperative for you to follow this guide in order to ensure safety for yourself and others in or around your home.

The first thing you need to do is declutter your home and rid it of anything that is potentially hazardous or harmful. Now is the time to get rid of old papers, clippings and items that are no longer of use. Also, get rid of oversized or bulky furniture as it will prevent you from moving around the home fluidly. Make sure your walkways are clear at all times, and keep electrical cords as close to the baseboards as possible. Remove small rugs as the can cause you to trip or misstep.

In the kitchen, it is necessary to remove all clutter from counter space, as clutter makes it hard to pick out any specific item. Also, get into the habit of putting things away right after you use them as a safety precaution and to ensure you will always have access to what you need. It is a goal to eliminate the task of having to search for items.

Marking and labelling are two steps necessary to ensure proper use of appliances such as the stove and dishwasher. Use a Hi Mark Tactile Pen to mark the settings on any and all appliances you use frequently. You will also need to label your shelves in your refrigerator and pantry and keep them stored as neatly and efficiently as possible. Develop the habit of storing things in a particular order, the very same way, each time you stock your fridge or pantry. This form of repetition will make it easier for you to locate things as you need them.

High contrasting colours will also need to be prevalent in your kitchen as well as around the home. Bright colours will help you identify items more effectively. In the kitchen you will need your dishes in the cupboard to contrast the shelf liners. When you are cutting and preparing foods, it is wise to use a cutting board that contrasts the food you are cutting. Around the home, mark stairs with brightly coloured paint or tape and mark all light switches as well.

To ensure proper lightening in the home, install high wattage light bulbs and use adjustable mini blinds to control natural light. Having a few lamps that can be moved to direct light are handy to have as well. For reading purposes, a magnifying glass with a light attached will be of great assistance. If you will be using a landline telephone, there are several options available to ensure that you will be able to see the buttons more clearly in order to dial numbers.

These are a few inexpensive yet effective ways to safeguard your home if you are living with a visual impairment. It would be wise to solicit help to make these changes to your home, and when you have visitors please make them aware of where everything belongs so they may return items to their rightful place. Establishing order and organisation in your home is the best way to ensure safety when dealing with a visual impairment. It may take a bit of adjusting on your end but remember, with practice you will soon be moving around your home with ease and comfort.

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