Home Safety Tips and Advice for Visually Impaired SeniorsSeptember 7, 2022
Vision changes are a normal parting of the aging process. According to the National Institute on Aging, common changes include difficulties seeing things up close, problems discerning color differences, and slower responses to changes in light.
While eye-care professionals can address some of these issues, you should also take steps to keep your living space safe. A few mindful changes can reduce the risk of trips, falls, and other accidents.
- Clear tripping hazards
Most people follow predictable paths as they move from one room to another. For seniors with impaired vision, it is critical to clear tripping hazards from every pathway. Tuck cords behind the devices they power. If the device is not directly in front of the outlet, position the cord so that it follows the wall rather than crossing a path.
If your space has different flooring surfaces, it can be helpful to mark the border with bright tape. Even a small change between tiled flooring and carpet can present a tripping hazard.
It is especially important to create a clear path from your bed to the bathroom. Everyone is less coordinated when they wake up in the middle of the night. Tripping hazards become even more dangerous if you are half-asleep, trying to navigate your way to answer nature’s call.
- Minimize clutter
While assessing tripping hazards, you may notice that there are items that you rarely use in the living space. Move extra chairs and accent tables from central areas and let them sit along the walls. Invite guests to move the chairs out when they visit.
- Step safety measures
Even two or three stairs present a fall risk for people with impaired vision. Use safety tape or bright paint to mark the edge of each step. Anti-slip treads and well-marked handrails are also essential components to prevent falls.
Extra lighting in stairwells makes them more visible. Install a motion-detecting fixture that turns on as you go up or down the stairway.
- Choose soft white lights
People with impaired vision appreciate some extra light. Increased brightness makes it easier to read and perform other detail-oriented tasks. The quality of the light matters when brightening a room. Lights that are too harsh can create confusing reflections and shadows. Soft white light is a better choice to brighten a living space without causing additional problems.
- Look for appliances with larger displays
Nobody likes squinting to make out the display of a microwave or another device. Failing to read the numbers properly is not just an irritation. Mistakes with cooking appliances can pose a fire hazard as well as burn a meal.
Moving close to decipher a digital display can also increase the risk of tripping. If you are focused on the readout, you are less likely to notice other hazards. As your vision changes, opt to buy phones, microwaves, and clocks with larger displays that are easier to read.
- Consider contrasting colors
As the level of vision impairment increases, employing sharp contrasts can make navigation easier. Falls may happen when someone misjudges the placement of a handrail or light switch that they are reaching. Painting these objects in bright contrasting colors will make them easier to find.
Using dark switch plates on light-colored walls, for example, sharpens the appearance of the object you need to grasp. You can apply the same principle to painting doorknobs, outlets, and toilet seats.
- Install motion detectors for safety
Nightlights and motion-detecting lights are simple safety precautions that can keep seniors safe in every part of their living space. For older people with normal vision issues, a light-sensitive LED nightlight can brighten the path from the bedroom to the bathroom. Seniors with more serious vision issues may need brighter light from a motion-detecting fixture.
Motion-detecting technology is a good choice for windowless areas of the home. It is much easier to navigate the bathroom when a light turns on as soon as you enter. Closets and other utility rooms are also natural choices for these fixtures.
Staying active and safe
A brighter, less cluttered living space increases the confidence of older adults with visual impairment. Making a few adjustments can help seniors perform their daily activities in safety.
Our charming, maintenance-free senior apartment homes and villas in Maplewood, NJ include housekeeping and other amenities designed to let you concentrate on living your best life. Ready to choose your independence? Just use this contact form to schedule a visit.