Making your home accessiblePosted: Friday 04 November 2016 at 16:03
The prospect of losing your sight is difficult to accept. But if you can prepare your home with practical measures, such as good lighting, it can ease the impact of sight loss.
When Chris Finlay was diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2008 she took the decision to plan her home for when she could no longer rely on her sight.
Chris, who has both wet AMD and pigment epithelial detachment (PED), was in the fortunate position that she could downsize into a bungalow in her home town of Poole, Dorset. Once in the new home she set about adapting it to meet her future needs.
Chris said: "As I knew I was losing my sight, I wanted to improve the bungalow. Once I moved in I had the whole place rewired. In the kitchen I went round with the electrician getting lights put exactly where I wanted them, so I was never in my own shadow. It is fantastic. It’s like Blackpool Illuminations."
Chris also had more mirrors put up in the house, to reflect the light. The walls were painted white and in the kitchen she replaced dark worktops with a pale colour surface so she can see when they are clean and dry.
Other preparations included rehearsing various tasks in the new home with her eyes closed. She says: "I practised going from my bedroom to my back door and finding the key with my eyes closed.
"I also practised opening my front door with my eyes closed and getting to the bathroom. I did it while I could still see pretty well. Once I had done it several times the confidence I had was amazing."
Not long after Chris had finished these major changes to her home she was affected by a major bleed in her right eye. "One day, everything just went black. Luckily I was able to get my peripheral vision back, but I now rely on my left eye to see, which was always my worst eye," she explains. "I had taken my sight so much for granted."
Some of Chris's other adaptations include tactile stickers and brightly coloured tape on dark objects.
For information and ideas about improving your home download our leaflet on Lighting or our leaflet on Daily Living Skills.
Call 0300 3030 111 or firstname.lastname@example.org