In the USA more than six million people over the age of 65 have a
severe visual impairment, and experts predict that by 2030 the rate
of severe vision loss will double along with the country's aging
Sharon O'Brien About.com's guide for Senior Living
writes "Low vision can have profound and adverse effects on the
overall health and well-being of older adults such as a greater risk
of depression, drug-related errors caused by an inability to
identify medications, and an increased risk of falls and fractures."
Eyeglasses can increase the chances of falls too. "Multifocal
glasses can impair visual abilities needed for detecting obstacles
and judging depth." This is according to Australian researchers
involved in a study published last year in the medical journal BMJ.
They found a
decrease in the number of falls among people who switched to
single-vision eyeglasses for outdoor activities and stairs.
And readers of Karen Stabiner's piece in the
New York Times "Bifocals and Falls" had a lot to share about
their eye correction solutions which for some means multiple pairs
of glasses instead of multifocal lenses.
We at AIPatHome think that sometimes a little low-tech, low-cost
common sense is all you need to keep you on your feet.
Accessible shower for low
vision users featuring satin nickel metal
finish, matte tiles, adjustable LED lighting,
color contrasting gab bars and custom inset tile
create an inviting retreat for soothing shower
suited to the low vision user.
Adjustable light controls.
"Lighting, color and space planning are the key to independent
living with low vision," says Michelle Molloy, founder of
Penates* Design. It has particular importance to her because her
mother has low vision. She has helped her make changes to her living space
which has made it safer.
Michelle has a number of recommendations for making home modifications
to support low vision starting with controlling light to help the
eyes adjust to different levels of light. This can be accomplished
by filtering or shielding light from:
Additionally, making changes in the home environment to:
Show the edges of things
Increase light and reduce glare
Use light controls that are adjustable
Light objects and tasks
Shield direct light from eyes
Arrange furniture so light comes over the shoulder
Use visual and tactile texture to distinguish surfaces
Matte finishes should be used instead of gloss
Contrast paint hues
Michelle Molloy, LEED AP, CAPS, ASID, founder of
Penates Design, has
remodeled and redesigned homes for over 12 years. She serves the
greater Seattle and Snohomish County communities in Washington. She
brings a "soul satisfying" approach to her work. Penates
Design is Pro Bono Project Designer for 2009 AARP Recession Remodel
contestant winner, designed aesthetics of aging-in-place concept
with finishes selected for beauty and function for users with
low-vision criteria. This project won the 2010 Dream Home Awards™
Community Service Project of the Year Award.
Penates (pe-nay-teez) was known in
ancient Rome as the guardian of the hearth and treasured home
Your rants, raves, suggestions and stories are always
welcome...especially the raves! Seriously, tell us what
we can do to help you age-in-place, in your home, your way. Send your comments to