Tag Archives: blind

How To Prepare Your Home After A Visual Impairment Diagnosis

After a visual impairment diagnosis, it’s important to think about how it will affect your daily life and all the changes that will need to be made to your living space. It may seem overwhelming at first, but if you sit down and make out a list of your daily activities, you’ll be able to see easily which changes need to be made and start working out a budget for any modifications.


Here are some of the best tips to help get you started.


Use color


Painting the railings a color that contrasts with the wall will be helpful.


If you have stairs in your home, it will be important to modify them in a simple way to make them a little safer to navigate. For instance, painting the railings a color that contrasts with the wall will be helpful, as well marking the edges of the individual steps with brightly colored tape. You might also consider installing small, battery-operated lights on the facing of each stair step–think of the ones in movie theaters–to help you find them easily in the dark.


Change up the lighting



Use sheer curtains or light-filtering mini blinds if you want a little privacy.



Lighting is very important for individuals with a vision impairment. Natural light typically works best, so make good use of the windows in your home. Use sheer curtains or light-filtering mini blinds if you want a little privacy. It’s also a good idea to make sure there are floor lamps and desk lamps near your workspaces or the most used areas of your home, and add lighting to stairways, hallways, the pantry, and closets. Banish those shadows, which can be tricky to navigate.


Get organized



Paint light switch plates a dark color if you have white walls.


It’s imperative to get organized. Cabinets, drawers, and closets should be neat, with a place for everything. You can get sliding racks and shelving to make it easier to find items in the back; place like items with each other and consider using a braille label maker to mark the shelves. Keep cleaning supplies well away from any food items, and, if possible, refrain from storing items on high shelves so you won’t have to use a step stool.

You can use texture and contrasting colors to make important things easier to find; for instance, it might be useful to paint light switch plates a dark color if you have white walls; white tape on black stove controls will help you easily see the settings when cooking.


Make safety a priority



Furnitures without sharp edges are great protection to people living in the house.


If you live alone, safety should be high up on your list of priorities. Keep a fire extinguisher in each room, and make sure all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order and have fresh batteries.

Clear any clutter from your home and make sure walkways, hallways, and main living areas are easy to walk through, with no obstructions such as large pieces of furniture. Throw rugs aren’t advisable, but if you do have them, make sure they’re tacked down to the floor beneath to prevent trip hazards.


Consider a service dog



Service dogs are wonderful companions.


Service dogs are wonderful companions and can be trained for a number of tasks, including keeping you safe on walks and being helpful around the house. It’s not cheap to train a dog for this service, however, so you need to be absolutely sure you’re ready for the commitment before making the decision to acquire one.


Originally published by Zoomax on http://www.zoomax.co/low-vision-information/Prepare-Home-After-Visual-Impairment-Diagnosis.html Special thanks for you!

For any other travel advice or guidance, feel free to contact us and to learn more about our active accessible holidays, click here.

10% discount for disabled students of University of Cambridge

disabled students

We are always looking for ways in which we can achieve maximum reach to ensure the entire disability community gets to benefit from our disabled access holidays that are designed to help visually impaired, partially sighted, handicapped, wheelchair users, and their friends and family to enjoy a more enhanced holiday experience that can help them learn new skills, boost their confidence, and enjoy social interaction all while enjoying a completely tailored, enabled and active holiday in the gorgeous island of Sicily, Italy. (more…)

What To Know Before You Take Your Guide Or Assistance Dog On Board!


Under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) you can bring your guide dogs back to the UK after visiting abroad without having to quarantine your dog. This scheme covers assistance dogs, guide dogs, ferrets, and cats which can be brought back to the UK provided they fulfill certain requirements and conditions. This scheme covers travel by rail, sea, and air. But it does not cover any routes that have not been agreed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It is the DEFRA that administers The Pet Travel Scheme.


A Guide To Taking Your Guide Dog On Holiday

If you use a guide dog or service animal in everyday life then naturally you’d like to take it with you when you go on holiday. It’d be far more comfortable and familiar navigating a new environment with your trusted friend and companion, and I’m sure if you were away from them for an extended period of time you’d miss them terribly. Although probably not half as much as they miss you.

This blog will outline the process of taking your guide dog abroad and the steps you need to take to make the process run smoothly.

The Pet Travel Scheme

Under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), you can bring your guide dogs back to the UK after going abroad without having to quarantine your guide dog. This scheme covers assistance dogs, guide dogs, ferrets, and cats which can be brought back to the UK provided they fulfill certain requirements and conditions. This scheme covers travel by rail, sea, and air, but it does not cover any routes that have not been agreed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Check to see if your route and airline is in the list of approved routes by the DEFRA, click here. Routes are constantly being updated however and some only operate during certain times of the year. Therefore I would recommend that you call the DEFRA helpline at 0870 241 1710 for updated information on the route you plan to travel on.

The Conditions

These are the conditions outlined by the EU pet movement system. You will have to fulfil these when traveling from the UK to any other EU country.

All pet cats, dogs, and ferrets that are traveling between EU Member States must be vaccinated against rabies, micro-chipped, and accompanied by a pet passport. The waiting period before you can enter an EU state after first vaccination date is 21 days and you have to get your dog a blood test to make sure the vaccination worked.

If the blood test result is satisfactory, a government-authorised veterinary surgeon will issue an official Pet Passport. To obtain a Pet Passport, take the dog, its vaccination record and blood test result to the LVI, who will then check the documentation and the dog’s microchip number before issuing a passport.

Each country has their own additional requirements as well and thus it is advised that you contact the relevant authorities of the country you are traveling to, to find out about their additional entry requirements.

When returning to the UK you dog must be treated against ticks and tapeworms. The dog must be treated between 24 and 48 hours before being checked in to travel into the UK, and the procedure must be done by a qualified vet.

If you are taking your dog outside the EU you may need a document known as an export health certificate. For more details, you should contact your local DEFRA Animal Health Divisional Office or speak to your own vet.

a chart highlighting different regulations in different countries for taking your guide dog abroad


Preparing For The Flight

Make sure you leave yourself with plenty of time to check yourself in and your guide dog, so I would advise arriving at the airport with a good few hours to spare. It’s best to call ahead to check with your airline to see what time they think you should get there. When travelling with a guide dog you will be required to bring along identification for both yourself and the Pet Passport for their dog. You may also need to additional documentation required by the airline, and a safety harness so your dog can be secured during takeoff and landing.

When traveling back to the UK, you should send your guide dogs Pets Passport documentation to the Animal Reception Centre of the UK airport you will be arriving at, prior to your flight. When you land at that airport, an Animal Clearance Officer will be there to meet you either on the aircraft or the arrival gate, so you can have your documentation approved.

a guide dog sits in an airport. good boy.


Preparing Your Guide Dog

There are a couple of things that you can do to prepare your guide dog before the journey and make it more comfortable for both your dog, yourself and fellow passengers.

Ensure the dog is well groomed and bathed to reduce shedding.

Consider what you feed your dog beforehand depending on the length of the flight because nature may call, and if nature does call there’s not much your dog can do about that. What you can do though is reduce the chances of nature picking up the phone, and try to control the intensity of what nature wants to say.

Remember a dog’s total digestive process is dependent upon its size and is more rapid than in humans (12-30 hours), and it is recommended to feed a light, highly digestible small feed, at least 12 hours before the flight.

Give the dog opportunities to relieve itself several times on its preferred surface before entering the secured area. Be aware that once at the airport, concrete relief may be the only opportunity available. Be aware of the dog’s normal relief pattern and ask airport personnel as to where an appropriate area is located.

Consider introducing a different relief/exercise routine for a few days before the journey to reduce the chances of the dog needing to relieve during the travelling time.

On The Flight

a guide dog walks down the aisle of a plane

Obviously a plane is a rather alien environment for a guide dog, so there are a few things you can do to keep it relaxed and comfortable.

Fit the safety harness during takeoff and landing and at all other times when the ‘fasten seat belts’ sign is illuminated.

If your dog is small and weighs less than 10 kilograms it may be able to remain on your lap.

Don’t restrict water at any time; ice cubes can be offered during the flight.

Reassure the dog during the flight, including on take off, and especially if there’s turbulence in flight and on landing.

If during the flight the dog becomes distressed and, despite your best efforts, nature does call, you should notify a member of the crew. You and the dog will be escorted to the passenger toilet and be provided with a moisture absorbent mat or other suitable material.

On longer journeys it could be good to get a fleece/vetbed for the dog to lie on in the aircraft. Absorbent pads could be placed under the fleece, just in case.

Just as a side note, I’ve always wondered if dogs really get what’s happening on the plane. Are they like, “we’ve been inside for quite a while now, this is pretty dull, that man’s feet smell really bad, I wish I was in the park”, or do they get what’s happening and are more, “OH MY GOD I’M IN THE SKY, I’M SO FAR UP IN THE SKY, that man’s feet smell really bad, WHAT IS HAPPENING I’M IN THE SKY!?” Anyone else? … No? Sorry, I’ll get back to the advice.

Preparing Your Guide Dog For The Holiday

Whenever you go on holiday you spend a lot of time preparing. Are there any specific vaccinations you need to get, any dietary requirements to consider, any products you need to protect against flies or the weather? Well it’s the same for your guide dog!

You need to check to see if there are any specific health risks or diseases for dogs in the country that you’re going to, whether or not there will be mosquitos and other potential dangerous insects, whether there’s a problem with feral dogs in the country. Will you be able to buy the right kind of food for your guide dog in the country? The best thing to do is ask your vet for advice and make sure you do your research. If possible talk to people who’ve been to the country before. It may be that there are too many issues and it would be best to reconsider taking your dog and change your plans accordingly.


So that’s our guide to take your guide dog on holiday. We hope it was useful in getting you started, but you will want to look at a more detailed guide, such as this one by GuideDogs.org.uk, before you travel. Always make sure to do your research, and remember the health and comfort of your guide dog is the priority, and if it looks like it will be too much of a risk it may be best to work out different plans.

For any other travel advice or guidance, feel free to contact us and to learn more about our active accessible holidays, click here.

Bridging the Gap: Living with Blindness and Enjoying a Vacation

Loss of sight can be a difficult journey especially if the disability is relatively new. Visually impaired or blind people have to struggle with several coping mechanisms to make life easier for themselves. One of their biggest challenges is being able to move around independently without any helper and still feeling confident and safe. Most blind people rely on dogs to get them around, but most vacation spots and attractions rarely have the facility to accommodate this need of theirs. Nevertheless, blind people still are able to overcome all these weaknesses and live their lives equally well as sighted people. (more…)

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