3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing a Home for a Person with a Visual Impairment

3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing a Home for a Person with a Visual Impairment

Posted under Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

When preparing a home for a person with a visual impairment, it’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do. Sometimes in working to prepare a home, people make too many changes or over correct too much. The result can be too much lighting, too little freedom for the visually impaired person, and too much organization with no flexibility for living comfortably. We share three of the most common mistakes people make when preparing a home for a person with a visual impairment here, so you can avoid making them in your own home.


  1. Causing a Glare

Ideally, the lighting you add to your home will assist people with low vision in completing their daily tasks and navigating the home safely rather than creating a glare and bothering their eyes. Do not opt for lamps and lighting fixtures just because they accommodate bulbs of the highest wattage. Rather, choose lamps and lighting fixtures that allow light to be distributed in equal amounts on tasks from all angles without any reflecting back toward the person’s face. You can control light distribution with adjustable lamps, dimmer switches, and lampshades. You also can control light distribution by purchasing task lamps designed specifically for people with visual impairment.

You also may inadvertently cause a glare by purchasing adjustable blinds with shiny or glossy finishes. Opt for linen window coverings and blinds that filter the light and do not reflect it. Install sheers on windows that receive the most direct sunlight in your home so natural light is able to enter the home while the sheers filter the sunlight and reduce glare.

It’s also a good idea to examine outdoor lights and make sure they are not shining into your home and causing a glare at night. Indirect lighting is a good option for walkways and patios. Porch lights should be adjustable so you can direct the light where it needs to go outside instead of inside. You also should purchase motion sensor lights and flood lights for outside and experiment with the angle of the light to ensure they are lighting the areas you want them to instead of the inside of our home.


  1. Preparing Limited Spaces

When first preparing your home for a person with a visual impairment, people often begin in the areas of the home in which the person will spend the most time. This method is smart, especially for people who need to stick to a budget when making accommodations. Many people begin by preparing the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living room.

However, over time, you need to remember to prepare all the spaces in the home. If a person with a visual impairment only feels comfortable and safe in a few rooms inside the home, it creates an unfair situation and may result in negative emotions and tension in the home. Talk with your loved one and determine which accommodations are needed. For example, you may find that she is struggling to locate doorknobs or edges of kitchen cabinets for opening and closing doors. One solution is to switch door knobs and handles to ones that contrast with the door color to make them more visible. Another solution is to place brightly colored tape on the edges of doors, drawers, and cabinets to make them more visible.


  1. Over Organizing

Home organization is essential to the safety and comfort of a person with a visual impairment. However, it is possible to over organize. If you organize your home to the point that it becomes too complicated to know where to put things, you need to reevaluate your organization methods. If you have too many categories for food items, cleaning items, or other items that you use on a daily basis, it can be confusing to the person with a visual impairment. Make general categories and have a place for everything, but avoid having a list of subcategories.

Over-organizing also means that people are not comfortable. If someone avoids getting a blanket from the closet or adding a few more spices to a meal because it will throw the organization system out of whack, you need to but back on organization a bit. Your organization system should be logical and help the person with a visual impairment locate items quickly and easily; it should not prevent people from using items they need or hesitating to do something fun because it will mess up the system.

Using common sense and making logical decisions when preparing a home for a person with a visual impairment is a good way to ensure you are making helpful accommodations instead of causing unnecessary challenges. Be especially careful not to cause a glare, prepare only limited spaces, or over organize.