Declining vision doesn’t mean you have to give up your autonomy.  Celebrity designer Nate Berkus—known for appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and his most recent TV show, Nate & Jeremiah by Design, on TLC—is working on My home in Sight, a website with tools and information to adapt living spaces as eyesight changes.

  1. Why is helping people with low vision important to you?
  2. When I was a teenager, my grandmothers’ vision started to fail.  I have vivid memories of her trying to explain how difficult it was to navigate her own apartment.  This feels like an opportunity to give back to her.  
  3. How can people keep their homes stylish and safe?
  4. Start with color and contrast.  It’s really important for people with declining vision because it helps define the location of their furniture.  Put two dark pillows on the sides of a neutral sofa. Place a bright, patterned throw over the arm of a chair so you know exactly where to sit down.
  5. We hear that you’re a fan of organization.
  6. Understatement of the century.  But with declining vision, you can’t have a junk drawer.  If you need to replace the batteries to your remote, you can’t be digging through stuff.  In your linen closet, put things in baskets; that way you can take them to the kitchen, where it’s better lit.
  7. What are hazards people don’t think about?
  8. The borders of things are really important—where the area rug meets the floor, where the edge of a stair is.  Use contrast tape on the treads of steps or to border out the area rug. It takes 10 minutes to do and doesn’t look ugly.

(written by Evelyn Spence for AARP The Magazine, December 2019/January 2020)