The time has come to adjust your home for an individual with a visual impairment. Maybe that person is a spouse, a child, a sibling, a parent, or a grandparent. Maybe that person is completely blind or partially blind. Whatever the situation, there are certain objects you should avoid having around the house.
These objects may change depending on the age of the visually impaired person. For example, children require the most intense home management. Hamblen Pediatric Associates / HomeTown Pediatric has an in-depth article that provides specific information about preparing for a visually impaired child at home.
Other specific information is available for the elderly or the middle aged. In this particular article, we are going to focus on general objects that should be avoided regardless of age.
Let’s get started!
- Sharp Objects
It isn’t a smart idea to have sharp objects laying around the house, whether your roommate is five or seventy-two. There are covers and cases available for most sharp objects that your roommate will be able to recognize by texture. There are also kitchen knives and other utensils available in a material that will cut food but not skin. Look carefully at alternatives to sharp objects. You’ll be surprised at how many of these objects you can live without.
- Anything That Warrants Clutter
Individuals who face a visual impairment require organization in their lives. Why? Because the vast majority of their object recognition is based on memory, color, and contrast. When you bring an item into your home that warrants clutter (like an extra piece of furniture that takes up too much room), you run the risk of disorienting and confusing your roommate as other members of your family misuse the item and leave a mess.
- Items That Heat Without Warning
You should never leave a straightening iron or curling iron on the counter – even to cool – when you live with an individual who has a visual impairment. Instead, place these objects in a safe space that can only be accessed on purpose. You don’t want your roommate looking for the sink and finding singed flesh instead
- Open Staircases
VisionAware published a great article that shares information about the visually impaired and staircases. The bottom line? It depends on the level of visibility offered and the stairs in question. You should, as a safety precaution, avoid open staircases. Place a baby gate or door in front of these staircases to signify their existence and placement
- Steep Inclines
Just as you should avoid open staircases, you should avoid steep inclines. Older homes sometimes have split-level inclines or unexpected level changes. If you can remove these barriers you should do so. You should also avoid items or products that offer inclines, such as ramps or stepping stools
- Objects That Roll
It shouldn’t be too difficult to avoid leaving your exercise balls, roller skates, or basketballs in the middle of the floor. However, it should be said that any objects capable of rolling should not be left in the walkway when you live with a visually impaired individual.
- “Middle Of The Room” Objects
These objects include anything that can be easily moved or placed in the way – such as exercise equipment, video game controllers, or trash. You’ll ultimately need to add methods of organization to your home to remind yourself (and other occupants) that walkways need to remain completely clear for the majority of the day.
Family Education has a useful article with proper etiquette when is comes to being in an environment familiar to a visually impaired individual.
Keeping these objects out of the way will ensure a better experience for your visually impaired roommate. It may help to conduct research on products or items that will help keep your home organized and safe. The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be.
Author: Jackie Waters