Tips for Organizing, Labeling, and Increasing Independence for Patients Living with Low Vision

Vision is an integral part for living independently, and once diagnosed with an uncorrectable vision problem, it can be challenging to continue your everyday activities.  In order to maintain your independence while living with low vision, it is important to put the proper tools in place.  Often simple changes in the home can go a long way, and with increased organization and larger labeling, independence is very much possible.  Here are some tips to help you live an independent life with low vision.

  1. Label, Label, Label

Reading can be quite the challenge if you are living with low vision, and it doesn’t help that many products have tiny writing or confusing fonts.  To alleviate some of these problems, homemade, visible labeling can reduce a ton of frustration.  Large, legible labels can be used to organize food items, medications, clothes and clothing sizes, toiletries, etc. so that you know what you’re grabbing and using at a quick glance.  Be sure to keep items that are used together near each other – on the same shelf, in the same closet, or in the same box.  So if you’re ever looking for the salt shaker, you know the pepper shaker isn’t too far away.

  1. Make What you Want to See larger

This may seem obvious, but it can actually be a game changer for those living with low vision.  While labeling is certainly important, a label doesn’t mean anything if you can’t see it.  Make sure to make any labels large and clear so that you can read them without much strain or frustration.  Your eyes are naturally drawn to contrasts, so it’s best to create labels with a thick black marker on a piece of large white paper or tape.

  1. Organize your House in a Familiar Way

Organization is not only key to knowing where items are when you need them, it’s also vital for maneuvering around your house as well.  When you aren’t able to see as well, you mind relies more memory and the ability to be familiar with your surroundings.  If you have lived in the same residence for quite some time, keep furniture and items in the same spot.  Moving around your house or finding that pesky flashlight if you lights go out will be second nature.  If you have recently moved or are living in a new place, try organizing it in a way that is reminiscent of your previous residence.  While the location or layout may not be the same, placing items in a similar way will still allow you to tap in to the familiarity of your last home.

  1. Increase Lighting and Reduce Glare.

Even people with 20/20 vision can struggle to see if there’s low or poor lighting.  For a person with low vision, it’s important to use strong light bulbs that illuminate rooms as much as possible.  Putting extra lighting where accidents can occur more frequently, such as the stairwell, will reduce the risk of a low vision fall. If you’re increasing lighting, you’ll likely also increase glare which can make it difficult to see when it hits shiny surfaces such as polished counters or the TV.   Be sure to properly shade new lights and to position items so that they are not reflecting the lighting.  And try to avoid using any high shine polish for counters or floors.

If low vision is getting in the way of your independence at home, Celtic Home Health may be able to help.  To discover a plan of care coordination that fits your personal health needs, to ask more questions, or to discuss your specific situation with a nurse, call 1.888.923.5842 or 1.800.358.8227 for our Illinois office.

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