Tips for the
Creating a safe, comfortable, and functional home for people with visual impairments should be a part of every space’s design. For those who live with loved ones who are visually impaired or for those who are visually impaired themselves, designing solutions to eliminate hazards around the home and keep the property secure while maintaining independence is a meaningful and personal process. Because every individual and every home is different, there is no single fix-all solution. However, we have included some tips and tricks for making life just a little easier and safer for everyone.
Home security for people with visual impairment remains pretty consistent with security needs for the rest of the community. Here are a few extra things to emphasize and consider when living with visual impairment.
Keep doors locked (with consistent locks)
Whether you’re in the house or out of the house, keep your doors locked. Many burglars are simply opportunists looking for easy access to target houses. Install door locks that are consistent in their indication; for example, the “locked” state would always mean that the lock is vertical on all doors. For extra protection, install deadbolts on your main front and back doors as well.
Install doorbells with cameras and microphones
When it comes to identifying someone at the door, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of who you are letting into your home or allowing on your doorstep. Especially for those who are hard of hearing in addition to being visually impaired, identifying your visitor can be challenging. Installing a doorbell that has a camera and microphone allows you to much more easily view or communicate with your visitor from your phone or tablet inside the home. Make sure you know exactly who it is before opening the door.
Use bright tape to mark the location of control panels and thermostats
Contrast is key. By “framing” your panel and thermostat with bright tape, it’ll be easy to locate as soon as you get in the door. Because there is a time limit on how quickly you need to enter your passcode after coming home before the alarm will trigger, getting to the panel quickly is necessary. This method allows you to make the panel easy to locate for you and your household while still retaining the option of putting it somewhere not directly in view of the foyer.
Install fire and carbon monoxide alarms
Make sure your fire and carbon monoxide alarm systems are interconnected, so that all of the alarms throughout the house sound at once if any of them detect a hazard (rather than triggering only a single alarm). Change their batteries every year.
Place an Emergency Panic button next to the bed
In the case of an emergency, having an Emergency Panic button will allow you to quickly trigger your home security alarm. This will set off the sirens as well as alert the monitoring station. While your perimeter sensors should catch anyone trying to break into your home, this can serve as a backup option in case you want to set off the alarm yourself.
Keep a Keychain Remote Control for your security system
Keychain Remote Controls offer another convenient alternative to manually arming and disarming your system. With a press of a button, you can arm your system as you leave the house or disarm your system as your return. It also has a panic button that will set off your alarms as well.
Around the Home
Here are some safety hazards around the home to look out for as well.
Small rugs are tripping accidents waiting to happen
Remove any rugs that are small or have a tendency to curl up on the corners or edges. If you simply can’t part with one, tape down the edges so that there’s no chance for it to become a tripping hazard.
Create clear paths of travel
Move any furniture that sticks out into pathways.
Make sure all stairs and steps have handrails
Not only do handrails serve as guides, they also help with balance.
Assess your home regularly for tripping hazards
Make sure there are no cords running across pathways. Messy clutter on the floor can also be hazardous. Keep things tidy to avoid tripping and toe-stubbing.
Single lever taps on sinks are easier to use than dual handle taps
For some homes, hot water may become scalding very quickly. To avoid accidental burns from turning the wrong handle at a sink or in a bathtub, install single lever taps.
Non-skid bath mats prevent slips and falls in the shower
Especially for aging adults, showers can be very hazardous areas of the home, with a high number of slip-and-fall accidents occurring there every year.
Store cleaning and toxic products in a separate place away from the kitchen and bathroom
Sometimes, one blue liquid might not look much different from another blue liquid (like mouthwash and window cleaner). To avoid possibly dangerous mix ups, make sure to store the cleaning and toxic products outside of the bathroom and kitchen.
Add contrast to draw attention
Consider painting door frames, light switches, and anything else you want to draw attention to a contrasting color from its surroundings.
Put brightly colored tape on the edge of each stair step
To help differentiate the each step from the last, tape over each edge. This also helps with communicating where the stairs end.
Maintain uniform lighting within a single area
It can be confusing if there is a single light out in a hallway with three lights. If one of the lights in a room has a flickering light, a weak light, or a light that gives off a different color, change them so that they will be consistent with the lighting in the rest of the room.
Use motion sensor activated lights in walkways
If this is possible for your home, it’s a great option, since it eliminates the need for light switches. It also makes it easy to determine if there are other people in a room or in your home.