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Things to Think About When Choosing a Retirement or Assisted Living Community for a Person with Vision Loss

Accessibility of community in general:
Is it easy and safe to get around?
Do hallways intersect at odd angles?
Are there large open spaces with few landmarks?
Are there multiple sets of elevators that could be easily confused?
Are there color and/or texture contrast in their flooring and baseboard choices?
Are curbs and the edges of steps well marked?
Are hallways well lit with even lighting?
Is there a way to control glare in community areas?
Are signs in large print with high contrast as well as in braille?
Did they use contrasting light switches, door way trim, hand rails?
Did they limit the use of patterned carpets?
Are there throw rugs, waxed or slippery floors that could present a tripping hazard?
Are mail boxes marked with large print, in a well lit area?

Staff knowledge:
Does the staff have knowledge of vision loss and local rehabilitation services?
Do staff members provide sighted guide; if not, is the administration committed to providing training to the staff on an ongoing basis?

Dining Area/Services:
Are residents encouraged to eat in the community setting?
Will food be delivered to the room, if desired?
Will they provide assistance to the dining room, if needed?
Is glare control possible?
Do the tables and chairs contrast with the flooring?
Do the dishes and tables contrast with each other?
Is food served cafeteria style or restaurant style?
Do they have readable menus or someone to read the menu aloud?
Is the wait staff trained to assist individuals with vision loss?
Do they identify what is being served and describe the location of each food on the plate?
Do they place glasses, bowls, etc. in the same place each time?

Vision Services:
Do they have talking books, electronic magnifiers, accessible computers, large print books or games specifically for residents with vision loss?
Are they able to assist with assistive devices or products the resident already owns?
Will they provide a large print activity schedule on paper with good contrast?
Do they have a low vision support group?
Is their recreation equipment marked with tactile dots so that someone with vision loss can use it?
Are volunteers or a reading service available to help with bills, important correspondence and shopping?

Individual Living Areas:
Do the floors, walls and furniture contrast with each other? (For more information, see www.afb.org/seniorsite/changingyourhome)
Are the refrigerator, thermostat, microwave, or stove marked with high contrast or tactile dots?
Are call bells easily accessible and marked for visibility and ease of use?
Is it possible to control glare with blinds or rheostats on lights?
Are there enough lighting options to allow for reading in desirable areas?
Is there good color contrast between the floor, the walls and the fixtures in the bathroom?
Can reflected glare be minimized on shiny surfaces?
Do the grab bars contrast with the background in the tub/shower?
Are washers and dryers marked for ease of use?

Transportation services:
Are accessible vehicles provided for medical appointments, shopping and/or other destinations?
Is accessible public transportation available?

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