There are more accidents in the home than anywhere else, even for people who are not blind or visually impaired. Therefore, it’s vital for everyone to develop and maintain good safety habits in and around the home. This is especially true for people who are beginning to experience vision loss.

Follow these suggestions to eliminate hazards and be safe:

  • Eliminate small throw rugs; they can cause tripping.
  • Make sure your bath mat has a nonskid backing.
  • Keep electrical cords as close to the baseboards as possible and out of walkways.
  • Keep floor lamps and small items such as low tables, magazine racks, and plants out of walkways.
  • Label cleaning and toxic products to make them easily identifiable, and store them and any flammable or combustible items away from the kitchen or heating units.
  • When plugging a cord into an electrical outlet, first determine if the outlet is vertical or horizontal. For a vertical outlet, place the plug at the top of the outlet, then move it down to locate holes. Do NOT use your fingertips to do this. If it’s a horizontal outlet, place the plug at the side of the outlet and move it sideways to locate the holes.
  • Install wall outlets and covers that contrast in color to your walls. This will make them easier to locate. Also, inexpensive standard outlets with recessed slots are preferable to the more expensive designer types that have a flat face.
  • Clean up spills immediately. If you forget the spill is there, you might slip on it.
  • Close cabinet, closet, and cupboard doors and drawers completely as soon as you’ve taken out what you need.
  • Install smoke, fire,and carbon monoxide alarms and check the batteries regularly to make sure they are still working.
  • Know where your circuit breaker box and water turn-off valve are located and learn how to use them safely.
  • When visitors call, keep outside doors locked until they have identified themselves to your satisfaction.
  • Mark thermostats with brightly colored fluorescent tape at the settings you typically use.
  • Pick up shoes, clothing, books, and other items that you could trip over. Put away any object when you are through using it—for the sake of safety and to help you find it easily again.

For tips on safety outside the home, read Staying Safe in Your Community.

For fall prevention coalitions, check NCOA’s state by state list.

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