Sensible Solutions: An Introduction

Editor’s note: Just in time for Independence Day, the VisionAware Peers introduce a new message board topic: Sensible Solutions for Everyday Living with Vision Loss. These tips and solutions to managing life with vision loss are being posted in a message board format so that you can respond and ask questions. We encourage you to browse through suggestions and strategies that can help you, or a family member, successfully accomplish those daily chores that can make living with vision loss a challenge. We also recommend that you read the topics in Skills You Need for Everyday Living.

Life Isn’t Limited by the Availability of Gadgets

Being blind or visually-impaired doesn’t mean that we can always afford many of the modern assistive devices and gadgets that can be purchased through specialty stores. No doubt that these devices are very helpful but unfortunately, the cost in producing them is sometimes expensive. As a result, the limited production cost is passed on to the consumer who may not have the financial resources to purchase the product or who may not live in an area where vision rehabilitation services are available. However, one’s ability to continue to do the things that were once done with eyesight need not be limited to using such gadgets.

Everything in Its Place

No matter what solution you are looking for, it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is for the person with low vision to adapt certain organizational techniques in keeping absolutely everything in its place. As children, we all learned the saying, “Everything has its place and there is a place for everything.” So the very first step needed for ‘Sensible Solutions’ is getting organized. As peer advisor Maribel Steel has written in a VisionAware blog post, Organization is a Matter of Survival

Illustration of high contrast kitchen.

Less Frustration, More Confidence

If you have recently moved from your home to a new location, you probably discarded many items that you no longer need. Or, if you have been living in the same home for many years, as you begin to de-clutter the rooms, you will also find lots of items that you no longer have a use for. Now that you are experiencing a level of vision loss, it can be very frustrating when you know that you have something but can’t put your hands on it quick enough. The solution is to consider your available space and then begin to organize by determining a convenient location for those items that you use most often. Also, think about those items that you use occasionally and can store them in an out-of-the-way area. This task can be an emotional experience because you may be confronted by holding on to items that trigger special memories.

When you determine the areas in your home that need your immediate attention, try setting a time with a family member or sighted friend who can help in describing items and determining together whether it is a good idea to keep or discard. Once you have removed items that you no longer want or need, you can begin to organize your living areas with greater ease and confidence.

Sample Tips to Maximize Color and Contrast

upper picture: white plates on white shelf in cabinet lower picture: white plates on dark shelf paper in cabinet

If your counter top doesn’t provide you with enough contrast between light or dark colors, consider purchasing the smooth type of shelf liner that comes in solid black or solid white. Cut the shelf liner to your desired length and use it on your counter’s work space when preparing meals or when doing other kitchen chores. Contrasting chopping boards can also be used.

A high-contrast cutting board can help food stand out.

Consider purchasing an inexpensive set of dishware in a solid dark color and then another set in a light color that you can use depending on the foods you will be serving. By adapting to color contrasts in this way, you can more easily use your remaining vision in order to locate items on a plate.

Creativity and innovation Is a Must

This means that a trip to a hardware store, an office supply store, a craft store or a department store can hold a treasure trove of inexpensive things that you can use for making life more accessible. Use our “Sensible Solutions” message board to share your own tips and tricks for living with vision loss and how you manage to get things done successfully with a sense of renewed confidence.

Resources on Getting Organized

Household Organization

Medication Organization

Clothing Organization