Colorado

Aug 30, 2010 7:56 PM by Carolyn Carver

Apartment designed for visually impared

Equipped with talking appliances, a Colorado Springs independent living community is testing out a new model apartment for people living with low-vision.
Jeanne Long lives at The Inn at Garden Plaza and runs the low-vision support group. She says moving into continuing care can be scary, but when you're losing your sight, it's even worse.
"It's very difficult, and it's frightening, it really is, fear is a terrible part of losing your vision," she says.
Not knowing where the outlets are, if the stoves still on, or as simple as not knowing what time it is.
"When you go into a new place there are so many things you need to do but can't see to do," she says. "This is where you lose that independence."
With Long's help, Monday the Inn unveiled a new "vision enhancement apartment" model at the assisted living facility.
Campus Director, Connie Johnson says, "by (Long's) example, and by offering a room like this we can really enhance peoples lives." Enhancing their lives by programming an apartment that talks.
Complete with a talking microwave, thermostat and alarm clock, on top of large-button phones and remote controls.
Long, who is legally blind, tested the room and thought of the little things that might make a big difference.
Things like painting outlets and light switches a darker color and including textured counter tops in the bathroom and kitchen.
Even though she won't live there herself, Long says she's determined to help others keep their independence.
"It's wonderful, it's absolutely wonderful to be in control because that's the one thing we lose when we lose our independence, we lose the control that's so precious," Long says.

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