For the blind or for people with limited or failing eyesight, organization is perhaps the most important factor in achieving independence. Every object needs to be put in the same place each time it is used. Otherwise, moving objects just a short distance may make them impossible to locate.
In lamps, use bulbs with high lumens for more light and place them carefully for maximum benefit.
Light-colored furnishings reflect more light and make the room appear better lit. A contrast in color intensity between furniture, floors, and wall colors may make these items/areas easier to differentiate. Colorful tape placed along the bottom step alerts and helps guide those with limited eyesight to a level area. When decorating, avoid patterns, which make spaces and steps difficult to judge.
Many senior citizen apartments and motels are built with a single central control switch for all lights. This is especially helpful if you find it impossible to tell when the rotary switch on most lamps reaches “off.”
Appliances with audio signals, such as bells or buzzers, are helpful.
Braille or large print labels are available from some manufacturers. Care and use manuals may be available on audiotape. Some companies even offer cookbooks on tape. Check with the manufacturer.
Permanent hookups or built-in major appliances generally work better than portable ones.
Gas flames on ranges offer easy-to-read control settings near the front, but increase the fire hazard. Electric ranges are generally safer, but controls at the back of the range may be difficult to read.
Voice-capable equipment, such as talking clocks, calculators, scales, and computers, is available.
In the kitchen, large print or braille labels may be taped permanently to containers or attached with a rubber band to canned or frozen goods.
Achieving Greater Independence
For banking, special checks with raised or large print are available for those with limited vision. Many banks supply these checks at little or no extra charge. Pay by phone options offer an alternative to paying bills by check.
Most books are available in braille. Talking books are also available on either cassette tapes or CDs from regional libraries at no charge. Some talking magazines are also available. Local libraries can supply addresses and phone numbers for service in your area.
Magnifying glasses—some with built-in lights—help by enlarging the print of newspapers and books.
If you have limited eyesight, matching colors and patterns may be a problem for you. If you know braille, color code garments by using French knots to spell out colors. Safety pins are also useful for color coding. Place one vertically on the back of the neck or waistband of the garment for blue, one horizontal for brown, two vertical for black, etc.
Self-threading needles are helpful for sewing and simple mending jobs.
Magnifying glasses aid in sewing, including those with cords for hanging around the neck, leaving the hands free; those that attach to the sewing machine; or those on stands that can be moved over needlework.
Small changes in how you perform tasks and simple adaptations can make your life easier and increase your independence.