Many elderly people struggle with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), low vision, or blindness and may have difficulty navigating their homes, taking care of themselves, or performing daily tasks.
Low-vision seniors can live independently by making small changes to their personal living spaces, which can enhance their general quality of life.
If you know a senior with vision loss and are responsible for their care, you should consider making some simple modifications to their home that will make their life a little easier.
Arrange furniture in the home to make moving around it easier and to prevent avoidable injuries.
• Arrange furniture to allow for wide pathways throughout any room.
• Place a chair next to a window so they can enjoy natural light while doing activities such as reading or knitting.
• Position mirrors so they do not reflect bright lights.
• Additionally, choose furniture with textured upholstery to make it easier for them to identify furniture by touch.
Make sure there is plenty of light in areas of the home that are used for recreation, reading and socializing.
• For lighting fixtures, choose 60–100 watt bulbs.
• Try out various lights, from warm incandescent to cool fluorescent, to determine which is best for their eyes.
• Use uniform lighting to create rooms with as few shadows or dark spaces as possible.
• Paint light switches with bright, contrasting colors.
• Install adjustable blinds to allow natural light to enter the home during the day.
• For times when they need a little extra focused light, place flashlights near important locations throughout the home.
Keeping your home free of general clutter and eliminating simple safety hazards improves the safety of people with vision loss.
• Secure area rugs to the floor with double-sided rug tape.
• Avoid using slippery waxes to clean the floors and instead use non-skid cleaners.
• Keep electrical cords hidden behind devices and away from walking areas.
• Stairways should be well-lit, and reflective tape or paint should be used to cover the edges of each step to keep them highly visible. Any additional floor level change should be marked with a new bright, reflective color.
• Install grab bars in the shower and bathtub and a handrail on the stairs.
• Use bright colors, exit lights, or contrasting colors to make the home’s exits more visible.
• Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year.
• Develop and practice an evacuation plan so your visually impaired elderly relative can quickly find their way out in an emergency.
The suggestions listed above are not the only ways you can modify an elderly person’s home to make it easier for them to live independently with vision impairment. You can find more home modifications that work for low-vision seniors in other articles we have written, such as “Dementia Friendly Home Modifications” and “Home Safe Home”.
Offering support to low-vision seniors can alleviate a lot of their anxiety as their vision decreases and can help them function more independently in their own homes.
If you have a senior loved one with vision impairment who is struggling to live on their own, reach out to Oasis Senior Advisors at 475.619.4123 or 914.356.1901 to learn more about senior care options. Contact us today by calling or filling out this online form.