One of the most common conditions associated with aging is visual impairment. The risk of lowered vision or even blindness increases dramatically as we age. This sudden loss of vision is hard to get used to, so it’s important to learn to adapt to life with less sight. Thankfully, there are many resources available to help you and your loved ones as you manage visual impairments.
Managing blindness or other visual impairments can be overwhelming. We’ve listed a few resources to help provide support and guidance through this process.
American Foundation for the Blind: The American Foundation for the Blind’s mission is to help those with lowered vision or blindness successfully accommodate their condition in their daily lives. They are a great source for support, research, and finding new technology or strategies to help manage vision loss. Even if you are not fully blind, checking out their website will still be helpful!
National Federation of the Blind: The National Federation of the Blind provides a wide variety of resources for the blind. From a massive library dedicated to research about blindness to a news service that can help you keep up with your favorite publications, this organization offers support in many ways! They even have a catalog of products to assist sight-impaired people, which can be useful if you want to modify your house to accommodate your new needs.
National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled: The National Library Service curates a large selection of books and publications designed for those with visual impairments. They include accommodations like audio or braille to make reading easier, and their services help ensure that sight-impaired older adults can continue to enjoy their favorite books!
Another important aspect of living with vision impairments is safety. Falls and slips are already a major risk for older adults, so making sure that you can navigate your living space safely even with limited sight is a priority. There are many products designed to assist blind people in their daily lives. We’ve listed some ideas below, but remember to keep your own unique needs in mind!
Low-vision lighting: Improving the lighting in a house can work wonders for those with visual impairments. Adding additional lighting to difficult or hard-to-navigate areas, like the kitchen or bathroom, will make it easier for you to complete their daily tasks. However, watch out for glare! Many visual conditions that affect older adults can make it difficult for the eyes to regulate glare, which makes sight difficult and uncomfortable.
Contrasting colors: High contrast can make shapes easier to identify. You could implement this anywhere in the house! For example, installing light switches that are a high-contrast color from the surrounding wall will make it easier for you to turn your lights on and off. Another example is installing high-contrast floor runners that indicate walking paths in the house.
Light-reflective paint: Adding strips of light-reflective paint to danger areas like stairs can indicate where they are and help prevent falls and slips.
Vision loss is a tough condition for many older adults and their loved ones to get used to, but it can be managed, and many sight-impaired older adults continue to enjoy a happy lifestyle! Using the resources available to you and finding support is key.