Whether it’s your microwave oven, your stove, or even your thermostat, being able to see the controls and settings can be nearly impossible with decreased vision. The numbers on these appliances can be low contrast (silver numbers on a gray background), poorly lit, or have print so small that you are forced to take out a magnifier or put your face right up close to see them, which can be a dangerous move if that means leaning over a hot stove. When all else fails, rely on your sense of touch and add contrast to make those settings and controls stand out!
What’s a Bump Dot?
“Bump Dots” are stickers that can be felt or even seen if the color of it stands out against the color of the appliance (a black sticker on a white microwave). These stickers can be easily attained through low vision catalogs but if you are creative, you can make or find your own! As long as the dot can be felt and has a sticky backing, anything can be a bump dot. Think about those felt stickers you put on chair legs to keep from scuffing up the floor, the rubber stickers you put under your toaster to keep it from sliding around, or those sticky rhinestones that are used to bedazzle objects– these can all serve as bump dots!
What is Puff Paint or Hi Mark Paint?
These paints are nothing more than fabric paint that is meant for clothing and comes in squeeze bottles at the craft store. When applied to appliances and allowed to dry, they become permanent, able to withstand cleaning products without being wiped off, and puff up enough to where it can also be felt. Again, these products may be found in low vision catalogs but just head to your local Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or JoAnn Fabrics and pick up some fabric paint – we suggest the Tulip brand which has those iconic pink tulip shaped caps.
Follow the KISS Principle
The KISS principle may sound blunt but it means Keep It Simple! When it comes to marking your appliances, do not mark every button! Only mark the most commonly used settings or quick function buttons (350 degrees on the oven, Medium heat on the stove top, the Light Wash cycle on the washing machine, the Power Minute or Quick 30 seconds button on the microwave). The trouble you can run into with having too many stickers is remembering what all the stickers are for and what they mean. If you do need to add multiple dots, then change it up, so they are all distinct. For instance, a small, medium, and large sized bump dots for Low, Medium, and High on your burners or different colors or textures (soft, rough, square, rounded, etc.)
Magnified Life can help you alter your environment with these tips and many other ideas to make your life safer and more convenient.