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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Tips for Home and Travel

You don't lose your knowledge and skills when you develop a vision problem, but you may have to learn new techniques for carrying out everyday activities. Your needs will depend on your particular vision problem and the tasks that you want to accomplish. Here are some suggestions for issues that come up frequently. These tips don't take a lot of time, energy, or money and can make a big difference in your life.

Are You Having Difficulty Reading or Identifying Items?

  • Try brighter light that is more evenly distributed. This may mean using more than one source of light in a room, and adjusting blinds and draperies to make the best use of natural light. Avoid glare from windows or mirrors.

  • Be organized. This will help you locate important items easily.

  • Label all medicine containers.

  • Ask your local librarian about large-print books and Talking Books on tape.

How Can You Make It Easier To Move Around Your Home?

  • Replace worn carpeting, and remove area rugs. Move electrical cords away from walkways. Use nonskid products to clean and polish floors.

  • Use contrasting colors to make doors and stairs easier to see.

  • Move furniture out of the main traffic areas in your home, and keep desk chairs and table chairs pushed in.

  • Keep cabinet, closet, and room doors fully open or fully closed—not half open.

  • Make sure that lighting in hallways and stairwells is bright and even.

  • Use railings when climbing stairs.

  • Make it easy to locate electrical outlets and light switches, oven dials, hot pads, and doorknobs by using color contrasts.

Are You Concerned About Traveling Safely Outside Of Your Home?

  • Wear comfortable and supportive shoes.

  • Plan your route before you go. Identify landmarks that are easy for you to detect and use them as reference points.

  • Cross streets only at crosswalks. If you are uncertain about when it is safe to cross, don't hesitate to ask for help.

  • When walking with another person, it may be helpful to hold onto his or her arm slightly above the elbow and walk about a half step behind. This will allow the person to guide you comfortably.

This is just a sampling of strategies that people use to cope with vision problems. For more information, and for help with your specific needs, contact a rehabilitation agency in your community. Check your local telephone directory, call the American Foundation for the Blind for a referral, 800-232-5463, or search the Services Center.

Remember that many older people with limited vision lead full and productive lives. You can too!

For AFB Press titles of related interest, see the AFB Bookstore.

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