Moving guide for the visually impaired

Written by Patrick Young

Moving is hard even when you don’t have issues that lower your ability to view the world around you. But as with everything else you’ve accomplished, there are things you can do to make sure your disability doesn’t get in your way.

The right help
Movers are a vital component for any relocation. Before you pick your moving labor, however, do your research. Contact at least three reputable companies and ask for a quote along with references and a proposed timeline from start to finish.
During the packing and moving process, you may also need help with kids and pets. Even though your home is a familiar environment, it can change quickly when you begin moving things around. This can create a dangerous situation if you can no longer quickly access young children. Ask a friend or family member to help with the kids during the day, and leave the path from your bedroom to theirs unobstructed at night. Consider boarding your pet overnight or hiring a daytime pet sitter to keep them out from under foot while movers are on-site. Rover can help you find a boarder, sitter, or dog walker who can manage Fido while you manage the movers.
Your real estate agent will also play a major role throughout your move. If you are buying a new home, he or she can help you locate a property with amenities that diminish your disability. Your real estate agent will be knowledgeable regarding local parks, schools, and hospitals, and may be able to put you in touch with services for the visually impaired such as the Center for People with Disabilities, which provides support groups and socialization opportunities.
Adapting your new home
Whatever your reasons for moving, a new home offers you the chance to create a safer and more comfortable environment for your entire family. A few beneficial home improvements include increased lighting, eliminating hazards, implementing a color scheme that creates contrast, and reducing glare throughout the house. Here are some tips on how to achieve each of these:
  • Lighting. Install extra lighting in the closets and bathrooms and ensure the hallway is adequately well lit at all hours. Use a light-sensitive nightlight in the bedroom and have wide light switches installed for easy access.
  • Hazards. Ensure floors are polished with a non-skid, non-glare wax. Anchor large pieces of furniture to the wall. Create a space for shoes, books, toys, and any other objects that might block your path.
  • Color contrast. Paint a brightly-colored accent wall to help you easily identify one room from the next. Install dark door knobs on light doors and consider buying non-patterned furniture, as stripes, plaids, and floral designs can be visually confusing.
  • Reduce glare. The American Federation for the Blind recommends using adjustable blinds on windows so sunlight can be blocked or let in as needed. Turn televisions away from unblocked windows or lamps.
As a person with a disability, you may not have access to the same types of jobs, and thus income, as those without disabilities. Thankfully, there are a number of private and public organizations that can help your dreams of homeownership become a reality. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may be able to help you with your mortgage and other living expenses through the Homeownership Voucher Program. Locally, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority offers more information on home loans as well as in-person and online homebuyer education programs.
Your disability does not have to bar you from moving out of your current home or buying your first. It takes the right team and a little extra preparation, but just because you can’t clearly see the world around you doesn’t mean you should not see yourself in a safe and beautiful new home.