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AIP Bulletin March 2011
Age in Place at home - it's where you want to be.

Quote of the Month
 "Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." 
Jonathan Swift

Low Vision Is A Growing Trend

In the USA more than six million people over the age of 65 have a severe visual impairment, and experts predict that by 2030 the rate of severe vision loss will double along with the country's aging population.


JVA Construction Services, Syracuse New York JVA Construction Services
Accessibility-Universal Design-Aging in Place
 Syracuse, New York| 315.727.6707


Sharon O'Brien's guide for Senior Living writes "Low vision can have profound and adverse effects on the overall health and well-being of older adults such as a greater risk of depression, drug-related errors caused by an inability to identify medications, and an increased risk of falls and fractures."

Eyeglasses can increase the chances of falls too. "Multifocal glasses can impair visual abilities needed for detecting obstacles and judging depth." This is according to Australian researchers involved in a study published last year in the medical journal BMJ. They found a decrease in the number of falls among people who switched to single-vision eyeglasses for outdoor activities and stairs.

And readers of Karen Stabiner's piece in the New York Times "Bifocals and Falls" had a lot to share about their eye correction solutions which for some means multiple pairs of glasses instead of multifocal lenses.

We at AIPatHome think that sometimes a little low-tech, low-cost common sense is all you need to keep you on your feet.

AIP Pro Tip: Low Vision Home Modifications
Low Vision accessible shower

Accessible shower for low vision users featuring satin nickel metal finish, matte tiles, adjustable LED lighting, color contrasting gab bars and custom inset tile create an inviting retreat for soothing shower suited to the low vision user.

Low Vision Adjustable Switchplate in Universal Design Home

Adjustable light controls.

"Lighting, color and space planning are the key to independent living with low vision," says Michelle Molloy, founder of Penates* Design. It has particular importance to her because her mother has low vision. She has helped her make changes to her living space which has made it safer.

Michelle has a number of recommendations for making home modifications to support low vision starting with controlling light to help the eyes adjust to different levels of light. This can be accomplished by filtering or shielding light from:

  • Coming into rooms in the home

  • Coming into the eyes of the users

Additionally, making changes in the home environment to:

  • Show the edges of things

  • Increase light and reduce glare

  • Use light controls that are adjustable

  • Light objects and tasks

  • Shield direct light from eyes

  • Arrange furniture so light comes over the shoulder

  • Use visual and tactile texture to distinguish surfaces

  • Matte finishes should be used instead of gloss

  • Contrast paint hues

  • Control glare

Michell Molloy, Penates DesignMichelle Molloy, LEED AP, CAPS, ASID, founder of Penates Design, has remodeled and redesigned homes for over 12 years. She serves the greater Seattle and Snohomish County communities in Washington. She brings a "soul satisfying" approach to her work. Penates Design is Pro Bono Project Designer for 2009 AARP Recession Remodel contestant winner, designed aesthetics of aging-in-place concept with finishes selected for beauty and function for users with low-vision criteria. This project won the 2010 Dream Home Awards™ Community Service Project of the Year Award.

* Penates (pe-nay-teez) was known in ancient Rome as the guardian of the hearth and treasured home belongings.

What Do You Think?

We think the term/phrase "Aging in Place" or "Age in Place" is awful! A marketing person's flash of brilliance that should have been left on the cutting room floor. What's your suggestion for a better way to describe people who want to live in their own home for as long as possible? Drop us an email or click here if you like to fill out forms (you'll need to scroll down the page a bit for the form).

Just For Fun

Warning this video is not necessarily AIP related but it kind of relates to our "vision" theme we have going and it's definitely here to watch at your own risk

Talk With Us

Your rants, raves, suggestions and stories are always welcome...especially the raves! Seriously, tell us what we can do to help you age-in-place, in your home, your way. Send your comments to
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