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Making Life More Livable
Simple Adaptations for Living at Home After Vision Loss

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Making Life More Livable

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Making Life More Livable
Simple Adaptations for Living at Home After Vision Loss
Revised by Maureen A. Duffy
AFB Press, (Revised Edition: 2002)
ISBN: 0-89128-387-0

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 29, 2002

First published in 1983, Making Life More Livable has been completely revised and updated by Maureen A. Duffy. The subtitle of this book, Simple Adaptations for Living at Home After Vision Loss clearly and succinctly explains the focus of this outstanding and practical book.

This book was published by the AFB Press, the publishing arm of the American Foundation for the Blind. It is designed as a guidebook, offering advice on how adults who have experienced vision loss can adapt their home environment so that they can continue to live a full and independent life.

Filled with tips, checklists, and suggestions, this book is also heavily illustrated. Many suggestions in this book can be classified as common sensible, such as always wear shoes when sewing so that you don't accidently step on any pins. And many suggestions will fall, after you read them, in the category of: "Why didn't I think of that!" In the long run, you will find that this book will save you from going through a lot of trial and error to discover, on your own, many of the tips offered in this book. Simple or complex, all the suggestions are helpful and easy to impliment. In short, whether your vision loss is relatively new, or if you have been dealing with it for some time, you will find a plethora of useful tips within the pages of this book.

This book begins with a general overview that explains what vision loss is, and it offers some basic coping strategies on living with the condition. This chapter also provides information on what to expect during a low vision eye examination, and advice on where to seek additional help if it is needed. The text then moves onto the steps you can take to make your environment more livable, such as the various lighting options available and how to determine which option is best for your situation. A Home Survey Checklist is included that will help you evaluate the conditions that currently exist in your home, and how you can change them to best suit your needs.

Throughout, special emphasis is placed on decreasing any potential hazards that might exist in the home. These hazards range from typical concerns such as fires, to the hazards that can be created when a door or cabinet if left open. For the fully sighted, this might not seem like a big problem - but take it from someone who has broken her nose by walking into the edge of an open door - if you cannot see that the door or cabinet is open - it can represent a major hazard! One suggestion offered in this book to help mitigate this hazard is to place contrasting tape along the edges of the doors so that they are more noticeable.

After the Home Survey Checklist, the text then takes you through each room of the house, offering suggestions on how to modify the environment in each room. Steps to take run from avoiding clutter and developing good organization techniques to marking the dials on your stove and washing machine so that you can easily tell the settings. This can be done either by touch, such as by using raised dots, or by sight by marking the setting with high contrast colors. Besides making adaptations to your home, in general, tips are also offered on how to perform day to day activities. Examples of which include tips on how to identify medications, labeling your clothes so you can easily discern what color each item is, suggestions on how to perform basic writing chores such as writing a check or note, and tips on how to identify currency. Suggestions are also offered regarding the various visual aids that can be used to help you read, such as a hand-held magnifier or a CCTV (closed-circuit television system.

Because many adults with vision loss also suffer from additional aliments, a special section has been added that lists tips on how to cope with more than one health condition. In the chapter entitled, "Additional Health Conditions" special emphasis is placed upon the following conditions, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hearing loss, Parkinson's disease, and complications form a stroke.

This excellent book concludes with a detailed resource guide listing resources from which you can gather more information about vision loss, and additional tips on the steps you can take to maintain your independence. In this section you will also find a list of companies that sell independent living supplies and visual aids and devices. Information is also provided for sources of reading materials in alternative formats such as large print.

This handy guide book is a 'must' for anyone dealing with a vision loss, as well as for friends and family members who want to help you maintain your independence, in your own home. Making Life More Livable will also be of benefit to anyone dealing with a disability, whether or not it is complicated by vision loss. The text is well laid out, and printed in dark, large type for easier reading. Headings are printed in an even bolder type face, and most of the tips are accented by various bullet marks, such as dots or arrows. The information provided is practical, and the adaptations suggested are all 'easy to do'. I highly recommend this book as an excellent starting point from which to begin to adapt your environment to your particular needs.

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