Take proactive steps to accommodate the visually impaired in your premises
Losing one’s eyesight is one of the terrifying experiences anyone could go through, especially when we all rely so heavily on our vision every day.
Life will no longer be the same once a person becomes visually impaired because of the adjustments that have to be made to cope with the disability.
The transition is never an easy one. The lack of awareness, the limited amount of things one can do without help, and the massive lifestyle changes can be overwhelming.
Though the number of visually impaired people accounts for a small percentage of the general population, it is important for us to take proactive steps to better accommodate them.
You can do a few things on your property to ensure that it’s blind-friendly.
The simple act of climbing up and down the stairs can be hazardous for those with bad eyesight.
The staircase can be dangerous if there are no indicators to alert the visually impaired.
One preventive measure is to make sure that each step is painted with alternating contrasting colours to create a striking Zebra pattern.
This allows people who have poor eyesight to perceive some level of depth when climbing.
To help those who are completely blind, a railing with a strong grip is best as it provides strong support.
When it comes to choosing cutlery or dinnerware, ensure that the colours contrast each other so that the visually impaired can figure out where every item is. This also applies to towels in your bathroom.
Most if not all those who are visually impaired usually prefer natural lighting when carrying out their daily tasks. However, this is subject to their preference. Thus it is important to observe their reaction to the lighting in your house or property.
Signs are helpful to the visually impaired because they serve as a guide. Signs that are extra-large with high contrast text are most welcome.
Nevertheless, it would be courteous to have braille points that are at the average hand-reachable level. Another way is to have a talking sign that is activated by a button.
Cluttered and messy walkways can make it difficult for the visually impaired to navigate through. Clutter acts as hindrances to those who can’t see very well.
Also make sure that your furniture and decorations are arranged in such a way as to not block their path. This means not having a chair in the middle of the room or a huge table next to the entrance.
A voice system in lifts should be a standard to accommodate the blind. In certain shopping malls in Malaysia, such blind-friendly amenities are already in place and will be integrated elsewhere.
With elevators that read out their position every five seconds, to lifts that tell which floor they’re at and braille points on each numbered button, the blind will be able to move around without getting lost or injuring themselves.
In countries like Spain and India, blind-friendly amenities are on the rise, allowing the visually impaired to enjoy what the city has to offer without being afraid of getting hurt.
Malaysia’s blind-friendly facilities are gradually increasing with the implementation of rubberised walkways but there is still room for improvement in terms of awareness.
It is our duty to help the blind, and your simple act could potentially save lives.
ThinkCity collaborated with Dialogue in the Dark to organise a project called My Urban Life in the Dark. This project presents an opportunity for us to experience everyday life in the shoes of a blind person.
Check out our video to know more about My Urban Life in the Dark project through the exclusive interview with Founder and CEO of Dialogue in the Dark Steven Chan.