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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Maintaining Independence In The Home

Hello Everyone,

My name is William Hunt and I am currently in the third year of the Sustainable Product Design course at Falmouth University.

The current project I am tackling aims to regain and maintain independence for individuals living with a visual impairment, regarding day-to-day tasks that are required to be completed within the home.
For instance, preparing a meal from scratch as well as identification and organisation of food items.

I aim to lessen the difficulty associated with certain household tasks and reduce the time taken to independently complete them.
As well as this, I want to address the possible stigma associated with many assistive products by placing focus on the appearance and aesthetical value of the product.

I would be incredibly grateful if viewers of this forum post could respond to me with activities, tasks and jobs within the home that you find time-consuming, difficult or impossible to complete due to your visual impairment.

Feel free to also contact me on:

Thank you very much for your time.


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Re: Maintaining Independence In The Home

Very nice forum.


Re: Maintaining Independence In The Home

My friend recently lost her vision to AMD & has had to cope with adapting her home. We've done a website together & I did some research on the subject. In this blog post, I list a few ideas but there are links to other resources:
If you check out Sue's journal pages, she talks about what she's had to do to adjust to low vision.

Re: Maintaining Independence In The Home

Here are links with comments from blind and low vision folks which product designers may find interesting. Please notice the idea of "inclusive product design" instead of "specialized product design". So very civilized this way and surely worth learning about.

Re: Maintaining Independence In The Home

The amount of labeling to identify food will vary depending on how much packaged food the person uses. The more fresh food he or she uses, the less labeling required.
The blind or low vision person will need to label bags or boxes with large print or braille labels or use a bar code reader app on an iPhone to read the package. I have also used a scanner hooked up to my computer to read the backs of boxes.
There are other labeling techniques possible.
I buy things in bulk and so I label jars with braille labels for things like wholewheat vs. white flour. If I keep rice or cornmeal or something in a ziplock bag in the freezer I will put a braille label in the bag itself so it cannot possibly fall out in the freezer. I wouldn't do this, of course, if all I had for grain in the freezer were short grain brown rice and cornmeal in bags. They are easy to tell apart. But you get the idea.

Re: Maintaining Independence In The Home

I want to address the possible stigma associated with many assistive
products by placing focus on the appearance and aesthetical value of the product.
What stigma? What specific products do you have in mind here? I could respond better to your comment if I had a better idea of what you mean. Now to staying independent in my own home. I pay people to do things I either cannot do or which would take me too long to do or which a sighted person will do better than I ever can. So, I hire people to paint walls, do electrical work and mow my lawn. I could rake my own leaves up but hire somebody to do it because he does it faster than I would rake. For similar reasons, I hire somebody to shovel snow off of my driveway in winter.
But inside of the house, I do my own vacuuming, clean the bathroom and cook meals from scratch.
Blind and low vision folks use large print talking kitchen timers or the timers which come on Smart phones. Talking microwaves exist, as do ones with tactile markings. There is a section on this website which talks about how inaccessible many appliances such as washer/driers and stoves can be.
If you write back and ask more questions, perhaps you will get the answers you need.

resources for staying in your own home and being independent with little or no vision

This will give you further input.
Get back in the kitchen! With just a few modifications and products, navigating your
kitchen with vision loss can be made safer and easier. Here are a few tips:
Use cutting boards in colors that contrast with your food. For example, keep a white
board for slicing watermelon or carrots, and a dark board for onions or bread.
Never overflow a glass again. For cold liquids, place the tip of your finger over
the edge of the glass and stop pouring when you feel the liquid. For hot or cold
liquids, you can use a liquid level indicator that hangs over the side of the glass
and beeps when the glass is full. Find more information about pouring at
Mark your appliances. Use tactile dots or pens that leave raised marks on dials to
mark settings you commonly use on your oven, stove, microwave, dishwasher and more.
Kitchen Safety Tips and Products:
For safe cooking, try these ideas:
Use color and contrast. For example, try using a darkcolored shelf liner for your
kitchen cupboards if you have white plates or vice versa.
Use long oven mitts to protect hands and arms from hot surfaces.
Use a low-vision timer with large, raised, high-contrast numbers, such as white numbers
on a black background.
Use a boil alert disc to know when water is boiling and to keep liquid from boiling
Place a pot on the burner before turning it on. Be sure to turn it off before removing
the pot.
Use a double spatula to avoid spills when turning foods.
Use individually sized or stacked measuring cups to scoop desired amounts of flour,
sugar or other ingredients.
Stay organized. After using kitchen utensils and ingredients, return them to where
you had them stored.
For more kitchen tips, visit
For more cooking tips, visit

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