Whether an individual is born blind or experiences a loss of sight as they grow older, the home can be a dangerous place if appropriate safety-proofing steps are not taken. Slips, trips and spillages are regular a risk, as are cupboard doors and drawers being left open. This guide will help ensure that visual impairment does not impact on your quality of life.
Within the Home
There are all kinds of amendments that can be made within the home to reduce risk and increase awareness for blind or partially sighted people.
- RNIB have a guide to improving the lighting arrangements within your home.
- The Society of Light and Lighting take a scientific approach to this issue.
- Prevent Blindness is a charity that looks at the best forms of lighting for the visually impaired.
- Vision Aware break down all the different kinds of lighting available, and advise on which are best for different endeavours.
- Family Connect explain how visually impaired children will benefit from these appropriate lighting and colour coding.
- Vision Aware has an interesting guide into what particular colour schemes can be useful in the home of the visually impaired in the name of easy identification and distinction.
- The American Foundation for the Blind is, of course, an American body, but this guide to interior design can be used in any territory.
- RNIB have bags of advice on practical changes that can be made to the home to accommodate blindness.
- The National Institute of Building Sciences provides very in-depth design guidelines for homes for the blind and visually impaired.
- This blog from HomeCrux could also provide some inspiration.
- This scientific paper is interesting, discussing the most effective colour combinations for the visually impaired.
- RNIB’s guide to cooking for the partially sighted will be reassurance that vision restrictions to do not leave an individual unable to use their kitchen.
- The AFB once again break down all the information that anybody could wish for into small, bite-sized divisions, including
- Disability Feast serves up a variety of user-friendly hints and tips for partially sighted kitchen users.
- The Blind Cook is the blog of blind chef Christine Ha, which may provide some welcome inspiration – especially this post on kitchen aids for the blind cook.
- RNIB’s guide to washing and bathing could prove invaluable.
- The AFB have a bulleted list of steps to make a bathroom safe for the blind.
- Insight for the Blind is a blog that discusses the needs of a visually impaired individual in the bathroom.
Stair and Hallway Considerations
- Vision Aware point out the difficulties that the partially sighted experience, in no small part due to their lack of depth perception, and what can be done to combat this.
- HSE, the government’s official Health and Safety resource, have some insight into making staircases safe and reducing the possibility of trip hazards. The information may be more tailored to business premises, but much of it can be applied to the home.
- Whimsical Home and Garden is a site that does not specialise in blindness, but may provide some inspiration.
Outside the Home
If your home comes with a garden, you may have more considerations as to factor into your preparations.
- Thrive, the gardening charity, works alongside RNIB to provide plenty of tips on how to continue enjoying your outside space despite the limitations of your eyesight.
- This garden design from Thrive will ensure that you remain safe whilst indulging your green thumb.
- Vision Aware has a lengthy list of tips on minimising risk and maximising pleasure in your garden.
- Perkins eLearning have all kinds of education resources available as to how to remain safe when leaving your home.
- A Guide Dog may assist you while you are outside the familiar settings of your home, and can be requested via the national charity.
Visual impairment may lead to a great number of adjustments, and each of these may cost money to implement. The government’s Blind Person’s Allowance increases the threshold of income tax by a further £2,2290 PA, but what external grants and support are available to you?
- Disabled Facilities Grants are also available through the government to pay for necessary equipment and apparatus, and RNIB also provide grants in similar circumstances.
- Don’t forget that Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are available, under two separate criteria. If you are able to follow a familiar route unaccompanied and unassisted, you will receive an addition £21.80 weekly as a mobility component. If you are unable to do so, you will qualify for £57.45. You will not be eligible for PIP if you are aged 65 or over, but you will qualify for Attendance Allowance. This will pay £55.10 weekly if you require frequent help during the day and supervision at night, or £82.30 if you require constant assistance and supervision throughout day and night. This supervisor may also qualify for Carer’s Allowance.
- Your local council could be able to offer assistance.
- Disabled Person Bus Passes and Access to Work schemes may also save you money.
With so many different websites and subjects being covered by this article, you may have struggled to keep track of the links that you need to investigate. Below you’ll find a summary of the all sites that will furnish you with the information that you need.
American Foundation for the Blind – www.afb.org
The Blind Cook – www.theblindcook.com
Disability Feast – https://disabilityfeast.wordpress.com
Guide Dogs – http://www.guidedogs.org.uk
Health and Safety Executive – www.hse.gov.uk
Insight for the Blind – www.insightfortheblind.org
Perkins eLearning – www.perkinselearning.org
Prevent Blindness – http://lowvision.preventblindness.org
RNIB – www.rnib.org.uk
Thrive – www.thrive.org.uk
UK Government – www.gov.uk
Vision Aware – www.visionaware.org