Controlling thermostats

Setting thermostats for low vision patients is a real challenge. The numbers are tiny and thermostats are often located in poorly lit areas. There are two kinds the dial kind and also the electronic models.

Setting the dial kind requires combining a few different strategies. First, we place high contrast bump dots in specific locations. The dots stick onto surfaces and come in white, black and bright orange. One dot goes on the lower temperature dial setting, for example, 68 degrees. The next dot goes at the higher temperature setting, perhaps 74 degrees. The final dot goes on the indicator spot on the thermostat disk that moves to set the temperature. We suggest that the patient use a flashlight to help make things easier to see. The small, good LED flashlights are very helpful.

Electronic thermostats are a little more challenging to operate because the controls are only visual. We would mark the temperature up button with a red mark and the temperature down button with a blue mark. These thermostats are designed so that each press of the button raises or lowers the temperature by one degree. For example, pressing the raise temperature twice should raise the temperature by two degrees. Again, we would suggest that the patient use good lighting while doing this. Good light helps everything.