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Navigating your home can become challenging when living with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). When your vision is impaired, you may need to find ways to help you walk down stairs, set an oven or microwave timer or avoid bumping into your coffee table.

Here are five simple ways you could adapt your home to help maintain your independence:

1. Use contrasting colours

a. If your kitchen is painted white, use a different colour paint to outline electrical sockets and light switches, or use a piece of coloured tape in the same area.

b. In the living room, place a brightly coloured blanket or pillow at each end of the couch.

c. You can also line the edge of stairs with brightly coloured tape or paint.

2. Add lighting[i]

a. Change to brighter bulbs and add lights, such as a lamp with a long, flexible neck to help with activities such as reading. Experiment with various types of bulbs to find one that suits you for each particular activity.

b. Keep stairs well lit with night-lights and consider leaving a corridor light on at night, especially during winter months when the nights are longer.

c. Keep small LED penlights or torches nearby for everyday tasks - such as looking in kitchen cupboards or wardrobes.

3. Use self-adhesive stickers

a. Buy self-adhesive stickers of different shapes, materials and colours to mark a variety of objects so that you can easily identify them.

b. By sticking them onto objects such as the TV remote control, microwave, house keys or kitchen appliances, you'll more easily be able to differentiate between different buttons or objects.

4. Create large-print labels

a. Using a sticky note or another type of adhesive paper, make bright-coloured labels with large font for things like medicine bottles, spice containers and the folders you use for financial and medical records.

b. Print emergency contact lists in a large size font and put in an obvious place - like on the fridge or family noticeboard.

5. Clean out 'clutter'

a. Navigating around furniture or other household items can be more challenging with macular disease. Consider your home and the space you have to move around - particularly your path to key areas of the house.

b. Try to keep everything in its designated place, keep objects off the floor to reduce the risk of tripping, keep corridors or doorways void of any obstructions. If it feels a little cluttered, consider donating furniture to charity.

c. During festive holidays, such as Christmas, consider where decorations should be placed to ensure the space you've learnt to navigate within does not change.

These are changes you or your caregiver can make to help improve your safety, and enable you to continue enjoying your home with changing vision.

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[i] Mayo Clinic. Wet macular degeneration. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wet-macular-degeneration/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351113. Last accessed: February 2021

Page-Specific Approval Code UK | February 2021 | 107573