I am a single mother with limited family ties and have recently had an accident that reduced my vision to hand motion only in my left eye and light perception only in my right eye. I also have a severe form of a condition called Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome (APS) that can cause blood clots and DVT’s either randomly and/or on contact with objects, people etc.
Prior to the accident I was in my final semester of an 8 year psychology/criminal justice program at the University of Colorado and very independent, outgoing and active in the rehabilitation and military community. Since the accident, which was a severe fall on the ice where I lost consciousness, received a concussion and lost my vision, I have been unable to cope with the sudden losses and have reluctantly been forced to withdraw from my educational, community and social pursuits. I am severely limited in my activities and at a loss as to how I can learn mobility while I am at such high risk for severe and life-threatening clots. Prior to the accident I had already been hospitalized multiple times with several severe pulmonary embolisms and DVT’s and have been told by my hematologist and other specialists that even a simple bump will bruise me and/or cause more clotting, despite the unusually heavy blood thinning medications that have been prescribed. A more serious injury or fall could be life threatening and is now an even more serious consideration with my current visual changes.
I am working with vocational rehabilitation and have gained a small measure of alternative life-skills inside of the home but am still incapable of leaving the house, shopping, attending therapy, doctors’ appointments and other exterior activities without experiencing severe anxiety attacks and without a guide, which my insurance does not cover and the community does not provide at this time.
I am trying to accept, learn and work with this limited mobility in the best way that I can but my set of circumstances are unique and there is very little information or experienced professionals out there for someone with a similar combination of disabilities. So far all I know for sure is that recovery and mobility does not come without mistakes, that I have very little margin for error and that I cannot express how much that idea terrifies me.
I am still continuing to try and find a solution for both my own sake and that of my 15 year old daughter, who has had to start homeschooling and limit her own social activities since the accident in order to help me out at home which is very difficult for her though she seems to understand and takes the new restrictions fairly well.
My most basic issue is that I am renting a private home with the help of section 8 and while my landlords are more than willing to allow modifications to the home and outdoor area to accommodate my disabilities, the cost is beyond their resources and I live on a fixed disability income. There are simple solutions that would help but that are simply beyond my capabilities. For example: I seem to do best with contrasting colors and less complicated mechanisms such as a flat top stove and solid colored countertops where I am assured of an even and easy to clean surface and black and white outlet combinations and any type of bright light or glare from windows, walls, screens etc. complicates my vision more and makes me disoriented and nauseous.
I have also been experiencing visual hallucinations with the color and shadow contrasts in the home which also makes me ill and has a severe physical and emotional effect due to stress. This, in turn, makes it difficult to reach a stable mindset or foundation in which to even start my recovery process.
I know that your organization has had experience in dealing with multiple types of disabilities and alternative lifestyles in your home designs and as a last resort, I am hoping that there is something you can offer in the way of creating a cost effective, less stressful, home environment that will, hopefully, help me create a stabilizing and safe ‘starting’ point in which to launch myself into a new lifestyle with areas of interest that fit my particular set of disabilities.
My accident was in January of 2012 and after 10 months of being homebound (and what some call a shut-in), which goes against everything in my nature, I am really starting to doubt that recovery is even possible and I am losing focus and hope for a constructive future. Any help or advice would be very much appreciated.
Susan, I am so sorry for the accident and what you're dealing with physically now as a result. I am not an expert in design for the visually impaired. I did consider a monochromatic scheme in varied hue values of one soothing color such as a gray or browns tho in solids and textures that would provide the sense of depth perception that might be of help to you without resulting in a dizzy feel that multi colors or prints might create.
I know you're in a rental property, but it sounds like your landlord is open to change to accomodate your needs, but that cost is a stumbling block. It occured to me then that you might contact the producers at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and voice your dilemma. They are noted for assisting those with disabilities going above and beyond their concerns and limitations using the latest technology, medical assessments and equipment into their design plans. Here's a link and I strongly suggest you apply though there's probably a waiting list involved. I suspect they may bump you up that list that's possibly on an as-needed-basis. Here's the link to apply:
I wish you and your dear daughter the very best and hope that your faith along with aid from good friends/neighbors/family will get you through this life altering challenge. Abundant blessings to you and your daughter!
Some tip sites that address the subject of designing for the visually impaired...
Froo notes: The obvious choices in furniture and placement as well as trip free flooring options should be addressed and surely some or all are touched upon on the above links. Soft/cushy furniture vs. hard wooden or metal options are ideal. Legless furniture that's well padded, rounded surfaces and an clutter free space void of middle of the room pieces should all be considerations.
I KNOW lighting plays a huge roll in your design plan as well.
Froo - Thank you so much.Before I moved in the landlords replaced the floors with hardwood throughout the house and new flooring for the kitchen and bathroom so nothing is carpeted and the floors are in a different light/dark color scheme, which helps a lot but apparently hardwood can get very slippery so I have to walk carefully so I don't slide into something or fall. The bathroom is ceramic tile and that seems to work pretty well but I wonder if acid treated concrete would work even better in the future. Carpet is easy to walk on but extremely hard to take care of.. more so because my dog is a German shepherd and sheds a lot, its much easier to sweep (I use one of those swiffer dust vacuums)then to try to vaccum and brush carpets.
Light is a huge issue. Not only for me to deal with as I need very soft hues and prefer none at all in the with the current issues, but because I don't want my daughter stuck in the house AND having to live in the dark. I think more than half of the time she spends in her room is due to the rest of the house being so dim and it kills me to restrict her like that so I usually turn on the lights and take the hit. Thankfully, my mom and dad come over a couple of times a month to take her out for the movies and such but though the neighborhood is a decent one and quiet, it is short on kids and things for her to do.
I keep telling her one more year.. then she can drive and can be more independent and things will be better... in the meantime I own her a lifetime of unlimited hugs and thank you's!! lol .. Seriously, she has been great and amazingly non-whiny for a teenager who just got the ball dropped on her.
Another issue is storage, I think I have three cupboards in the kitchen and very little room for storage in the bathroom and once something is placed it has to stay in place so I can find it again. I simply don't have the right layout or room to do that.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Susan_Colorado,
Susan, when you have limited built in storage, you have to be creative. For instance, investing in dressers which can be used in places outside of bedrooms (ie. dining spaces, as sofa tables, between two chairs, etc.), wardrobe or armoire closets, shelving units, baskets/chests, bookcases, and storage containers for under the bed or a skirted table, these are things you might not have considered for additional storage.
I use a lot of bookshelves and some baskets but I try and stay away from drawers since its hard to pick out what I am looking for by feel even if they aren't cluttered. Most of that type of storage has several of the same type of items in it instead and since I can't read regular books anymore I had quite a few extra bookshelves when the books went into storage.
.. that was a hard one to deal with..
I have room in my kitchen for more storage but its slow going buying up second hand shelves as I can afford them for 'pantries' where I can better organize and label things but I have to be careful not to clutter areas with storage when I need the open spaces around me.
BTW, I appreciate the thought, but the application process for the extreme makeover isn't quite set up to be very 'usable' for someone in this stage of visual impairment, I can't even find the application, and I don't own my home or the land... ideally I would also move to a smaller town where it would be easier to orient myself and get around.
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