Top tips for supporting people with visual impairments at Christmas

John, service user at Henshaws Liverpool Resource Centre, runs us through his top tips for hosting someone with visual impairments this Christmas.

Hi everyone,

I’m John and I’ve IMG_1850got a visual impairment. You wouldn’t always know but I’m not the only one around here who struggles to see. In a bid to make the festive season easier for people, I’ve put together my top 11 tips for supporting people with visual impairments at Christmas:

(1) Act normal – I don’t need to be smothered and am capable of doing things by myself.

(2) Use coloured wine glasses – They’re easier to see and less likely for me to spill my drink!

(3) Don’t leave all the presents over the floor – The last thing we want is anyone breaking their precious gifts (or my leg) because I can’t see them.

(4) Please describe what you’ve got for Christmas – I like to know, I may have missed a great present or trend.

(5) Think about lighting – Although we all love the atmosphere of candles and fairy lights, it’s better if there’s more light to see what’s going on.

(6) I’d love a darker plate to put my white turkey and potatoes on; it makes it easier to see, nothing like good contrast to ease the embarrassment. Or why not arrange my food like a clock face? I could have the potatoes are at 12 o’clock, the meat at 3 o’clock; I just hope I’ve something for every hour!

(7) Tell me what’s 2140547307_0906fac209_b
on the table and where
– If it’s a buffet or the veg is all on the table, make sure you tell me what it is. I’m not missing out on those brussel sprouts just because I can’t see them!

(8) Use names – If people are coming in and out of a room, it’s often good to know who they are so feel free to say something like “Hi John, it’s Stewart here.” Don’t forget to tell me if you are leaving the room, I hate carrying on a conversation with myself.

(9) Try not to move my things; I hate hide and seek at Christmas and the remote control’s there for a reason!

(10) Don’t make it too noisy – Background noise is OK, but it’s easier for me if it’s a bit quieter, having the TV on in the background can be really confusing.

(11) Make sure we’ve talked about how I’m getting home – sometimes it’s not obvious, but it’ll really hang over me all day. A simple conversation early on could really help me relax and enjoy my Christmas.

I hope these help; if you find these useful or would like to suggest your own, give us a ring on 0300 222 5555 or email

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John is a service user at Henshaws Liverpool Resource Centre, and has an eye condition called Optic Atrophy. He is a previous winner of the Gillian Lawrence award which celebrates the work of service users throughout Henshaws and volunteers regularly in our Liverpool Centre.
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