Let's continue with the Kitchen and talk about cooking, eating, and other tips.
You may remember in Part One I explained about cooking on appliances and alternate cooking methods. Now I'm going to give you more tips about cooking:
1) Instead of fighting to drain a pot by holding its lid against it, just dump it all into a colander. Saves from accidents, burns, dropped food and is just so much easier. If you're saving the broth, put the colander in a large bowl.
2) The above suggestion also goes for draining fat from meats and such. I use an old large coffee can, put the colander on top and just scrape the pan into the colander and let it drain there.
3) Use extra long oven mitts, preferably non-slip types that can cover your forearms too. With low vision comes trouble with depth perception and I have burned my forearms on a hot rack because I misjudged the distance.
4) For turning food, and for serving, use a double turner spatula for better control of the food.
5) Telling if the food is done is hard to do with low vision so you can use a variety of other ways:
The number one thing to keep in mind while cooking is making sure your paths and areas are clear before moving pots and hot food and such. That includes making sure other people and pets are out of the way (or out of the kitchen).
Now, let's move on to enjoying everything we cooked!
1) Place settings should be simple and contrasting colors, like the photograph above. A dark tabletop with a light plate. If this isn't possible, then use a contrasting color place mat underneath to see the plate clearly.
2) Try an use solid colors or simple design plates. Busy designs and multiple colors adds to the visual confusion and it becomes hard to see the food on the plate (or to tell if there's still food left).
3) For the love of God and everything sacred - do NOT offer to cut their food for them! We just have a vision loss, not a "faculties" loss.
4) When serving a full plate (as in a restaurant setting), you can offer to describe the plate for them. Describe the food layout according to a clock face. "Meat is at 6 o'clock, vegetables at 3 o'clock...".
5) It's best to use plastic or colored glass drink ware. Or at least use a contrasting color coaster underneath for easier finding.
Other Kitchen Products and Tips
Now how about some other ideas for the kitchen?
1) Pouring a cold drink, keep a finger over the lip of the glass (down to second digit) while pouring. When your fingertip gets wet, you've reached the top.
2) Another tip for pouring, use a contrasting color glass or mug from the color of the liquid being poured for easy visibility. (Coffee in a white mug, orange juice in a dark cup).
3) It may help instead (especially with hot liquids) to get a level indicator alert, models can come either with a sound or vibrating alert.
4) Another tip I mentioned before (with measuring ingredients), is to pour over the sink to lessen clean-ups.
5) A trick I created for the coffeepot - as you can see by Photo 1 below, that many coffeepot tops look all solid without a clear indication of shapes or edges. So, to combat this I place my fingers on the edges (as shown in Photo 2), and pour my water in between the two fingers.
Cutting Food on the Plate
As I mentioned above, don't let someone patronize you by offering to cut your food for you. You deserve more respect than that!
So, here's some tips to do it yourself:
1) Use your fork and tip of the knife to slowly "feel" around your plate and locate food, as well as pushing food back towards the center.
2) Use the tip of the knife to feel how large the piece of food is before you cut and cut away. The weight of the food on your fork is an indicator of the size of the food and whether or not you need to cut it smaller.
3) To check if the knife blade is up or down before slicing, rock the knife back and forth on it's tip, if it rolls, it's blade down, if not, its blade up.
4) Cut meats at the 6 o'clock position, so you're not reaching over other food, and reduces spillage.
5) To check if the food is completely cut through, stick your fork, or scoop with your fork and check for a "dragging" sensation. This indicates that there's still food "attached".
6) Use heavier, "solid" food as a buffer to scoop up food, such as pushing vegetables up against mashed potatoes to scoop easier.
7) If you're at a restaurant, you can request the Cook cut the meat before it's brought out (if it'll help with awkwardness in public).
Now for some odds and ends....
1) For salt and pepper onto your plate, sprinkle into your hand and then pinch some up to sprinkle onto your food. This way you can control the amount as salt and pepper shaker flow amounts vary.
2) If passing food around the table, have the person identify the contents, do the same when you pass it to the next person as a reminder as well.
3) When receiving a serving dish, run your finger around the edge to locate the serving spoon, and with the other hand, slowly locate a spot for the food on your plate and then scoop the food and move towards your located finger (or 2 fingers like I demonstrated for the coffeepot).
4) It's perfectly okay to feel around the table and around your setting to locate things:
I hope all these tips and products for your Kitchen are useful and help you gain confidence in cooking again!
The next section in the Series will be for the Bathroom.
Feel free to send me any questions and have a great week!
Note: Many adaptations in this series can be found in my eBook.
Disclosure: Some text contains Affiliate links and I may receive compensation from them.
Welcome to the second part of this series, the kitchen!
The kitchen is usually the heart of the home, families gather to eat and share about our day's events, friends gather and gossip over coffee, and of course if you're like me - you like baking and cooking.
But for some of us with low vision, especially those newly diagnosed, the kitchen can be a large source of frustration and accidents. It doesn't have to be that way and meal prep and cooking can be enjoyable again!
I'm listing a variety of tips and products for you to pick and choose from and they vary due to 1) amount of vision loss & 2) skill level in the kitchen.
If you're new to experiencing low vision, I highly recommend getting some independent living skills training.
Again, many of these tips can be found in my eBook.
Disclosure: Some text contains affiliate links and I may receive compensation from them.
As I mentioned in the first part of the series - the living room, the easiest adjustment for vision loss is to have less clutter.
Now, let's use the picture above as a good layout for a kitchen:
1) Lots of natural light as well as several lighting options throughout.
2) Cupboards and drawers have contrasting color handles and knobs for easy viewing.
3) Appliances are easy to notice between cupboards (I hate those makeovers where they cover the appliances with the same "covering" as the cupboards).
4) Paths are clear and chairs are tucked in properly - no tripping hazards. Also all cupboards and drawers are closed. (Number one rule in my kitchen).
5) It seems the kitchen table is the same color as the floor, you can remedy this by putting a contrasting table cloth on it, or using a contrasting area rug (secured to floor well) under the table.
This section is on prepping food and the different tips and products that will help you out.
Again, I encourage getting some independent living training to help boost your confidence and reduce your reliability on someone else. If you don't feel confident enough, please check out this correspondence course "Self-Esteem and Adjusting to Blindness" from the Hadley School.
1) Cut food in a well lit area, or use a small desk lamp for task lighting.
2) Use contrasting color cutting boards to highlight the food. Use a light colored cutting board for dark colored foods and a dark cutting board for light colored foods. (Please remember not to cross-contaminate).
3) Tuck the knife blade under the cutting board when not in use to prevent knocking if away and prevent cuts.
4) If you're not comfortable with your knife skills yet, you can opt for a manual dicer instead.
1) Be the one to put all the groceries away - that way you'll know what was bought, do any labeling if necessary, and you'll put it away yourself (so, now you know where they are).
2) If it's hard to read labels (or cooking instructions), there are several options you can choose to do:
3) Gather all the ingredients for your recipe ahead of time on the counter. You can choose to pre-measure ingredients into bowls and cups and such. Once you've added an ingredient to your recipe, put it away! This helps prevents double dosing as well as being easier to find the next ingredient.
4) Use large print measuring cups and spoons for easy viewing. One thing I always do while measuring ingredients, especially liquids, is to pour over the sink. With low vision we don't always see or react quickly enough to prevent over-pouring. So, doing it over the sink makes clean up a lot easier!
5) Put all utensils, dirty dishes and so on, in the dishwasher or in the sink and out of the way. Again, my mantra - "the less clutter there is, the easier it is to see".
Here are a variety of things to do with your "standard" appliances, the ones we are accustomed to - fridge, stove, microwave:
1) If you'r appliance is fairly new (this century), some manufacturers have a tactile (Braille) dial available for some models that you can switch out for to "feel" where the settings are.
2) Get puff paint, or tactile dots, to apply to your favorite settings on your appliance for you to easily feel and push.
On the right is a picture of my microwave with some puff paint on the following buttons:
Sure, it's not pretty, but it is very effective and I no longer spend time straining to look from different angles to find each button.
3) For the stove, don't start burners until you've placed the pot on first. Turn burners off before removing pots too. Turn pot handles inward away from edges to prevent accidentally bumping them.
Alternate to Appliances
If you're not comfortable using the standard equipment, there are several cooking alternatives to use:
1) Slow Cooker - Everything gets put into the pot while it's cold and left all day to cook on it's own and it's ready to serve. This reduces the chance of burns, and does not need a lot of "supervision" over it.
2) George Foreman Grill - Again, food can be placed on here while it's cold and then closed and started. Less chance of burns plus no fighting to flip food as it cooks both sides.
3) Air Fryer - Again, food goes in cold, turned on, check the temperature and texture of food and the handle stays cool to transfer to a plate. I have one and love it! You can read my review and a recipe too.
4) Cobolt Systems - this is a company that sells talking versions of various products such as a Combination Oven, Microwave, a single hotplate and a double hotplate.
Well this post is getting a bit long, I'll save Part Two for next time where I'll give tips and products for Cooking & Eating.
Thank you and feel free to ask me any questions!
Hi & Welcome to the first installment in the series "Low Vision Products for the Home"
Many adaptations in this series can be found in my eBook "Navigating Life with Low Vision: Coping and Adjusting to Living with Vision Loss"
After each segment, some products will be found on my Store page for easy reference.
Note: I use "you", "we", etc. to mean a person with low vision, because I'm one, and it's just easier to say.
Disclosure: Some text contains Affiliate links and I may receive compensation from them.
The Living Room
The easiest adjustment to make for the living room (and everywhere else) is to have less clutter. Remove things (knick knacks, extra furniture pieces, area rugs, planters, etc) that are 1) a tripping hazard & 2) can cause visual confusion.
Basically, the less there is to look at - the easier it is to actually see when you have low vision.
Let's use the above picture, which is a great example of a living room layout, to explain:
Walls and Doorways
It's best to paint walls a light color (or in this picture's case - use light wood). Light colors brighten a room naturally and thus helps us see better.
Floors should be a contrast color to the walls, or at least a much darker shade, this way there's a noticeable difference. Door frames and window frames should be painted a darker color or contrast color to aid with finding them easier, just like in the picture above.
The picture below is a horrible example of a wall and doorway. For those with low vision, it seems to be one continuous space and thus may be hard to find the doorway. Also, the door is open, we may not spot that and actually walk into it.
You can either use drapes and sheers, or blinds to adjust the amount of natural lighting coming in. Some days will just be too bright and cause a lot of glare to see clearly.
The best layout is where you can see best without glare:
1) Arrange the furniture in a way for us to be able to sit with our backs to a bright source - so the light is on other people we're looking at.
2) Use "task lighting" to help with reading, crafts, crosswords, and such. This is much better than overhead lighting that doesn't help with focus.
3) Make furnishings contrasting with floor colors so we can spot them easier. If this isn't feasible, use coverings or blankets to help.
4) Tape electrical cords down, use a sleeve, or hide them in your baseboard.
5) For hallways and high traffic areas, use carpet runners as a good walking guide (be sure they stay clear of objects).
6) In living areas that have stairs (especially those going down(, be sure to mark the top step with a bright strip of tape to prevent any falls.
Otherwise, be sure not to have any direct light behind or beside it. Keep the area around the TV clear and neutral so it's easier to focus on the TV screen.
Bigger is Better
Just remember "bigger is better". It's much easier to see things that are bigger and over-sized than squinting and getting frustrated.
Here's a list of various over-size products for the Living Room that may help:
Many more products can be found on Amazon and other low vision websites and can be discussed again with your low vision specialist to find one that fits your needs the best. Also don't forget many products also come with speech capabilities as well.
I hope these living room adaptations help you or a loved one.
Feel free to send me any questions!
Hi, I'm starting a Series of blog posts for low vision products to use around the home.
The sections will be:
I hope you will join me as I explain each area and the products that can help with low vision - both low tech and high tech.
This series will run throughout the month of March!
Please help me out and let me know what other area would you like to see covered.
Today's Spotlight is on eSight.
Who is eSight?
eSight transforms the way in which individuals with legal blindness experience the world around them, by allowing them to actually see it. As an organization, eSight is guided by the fundamental principle that Everyone Deserves to See. And this bold vision has been made a reality with its breakthrough pair of electronic glasses that allow the legally blind to actually see, be mobile, and participate in virtually all Activities of Daily Living.
What is eSight?
eSight is a breakthrough pair of electronic glasses that enables individuals living with legal blindness and low vision to actually see. Crucially, it provides sight, without the need for surgery. When a person with legal blindness puts eSight on, they are able to see in virtually the same manner as someone who is "normally sighted". eSight is the only clinically validated wearable device in existence that allows individuals with legal blindness to see, be mobile, work for a living, study, and engage in virtually all facets of their everyday life. These incredibly powerful electronic glasses record high-speed, high-resolution video from a camera positioned in the centre of eSight, to capture what the wearer is looking at in real time. Proprietary algorithms enhance the high definition video feed and displays it on two near-to-eye OLED screens in front of the user's eyes with unprecedented visual clarity and without any perceptible latency or delay. eSight's patented Bioptic Tilt capability also allows wearers to be completely mobile while using the device; so they can be completely independent and participate in virtually all Activities of Daily Living. Other features available to eSight users to maximize their visual experience include: unprecedented control over contrast, focus, and brightness; magnification (24x); and hyper-connectivity with Bluetooth, WiFI and HDMI capabilities.
eSight is available in 42 countries (and counting) An individual can try eSight, risk-free, before they make a full-purchase.
For further information on how to start one's eSight journey, please reach out to one of our Vision Advocates at eSightEyewear.com/Next-Steps or call 1.855.8eSight (1.855.837.4448).
Today is #WorldBrailleDay where we celebrate Braille Literacy and Learning!
We all know what Braille is....
We've seen it on just about every signage on doors, walls, and a multitude of other places.
While I was surfing Twitter I came across this tweet:
This made me sad, these teachers and counselors forget a major group that's usually dependent on Braille - the Deafblind.
Sure, there are some Deafblind individuals who can rely on their limited hearing for auditory input from audiobooks and screenreaders. Then there are some Deafblind who can read enlarged print (like myself). But that doesn't help those who don't have this capability.
Did you know that many Blind and Deafblind are lagging behind in school and colleges because their textbooks and materials aren't readily available in a Braille format? Thanks to technology like the refreshable braille display this problem is being remedied to a point.
These refreshable braille displays are not cheap - they range from $3,500 to $15,000, depending on the number of characters displayed. Some are complete "notetakers" with computing capabilities, while others plug into a USB port on your computer and acts as a keyboard/screenreader.
Thanks to an organization called iCanConnect - the National Deafblind Equipment Distribution Program - Deafblind individuals can obtain equipment and software to help "connect" with their family, friends and the world around them.
Deborah Kendrick summed up why we need Braille in her article in the Braille Monitor and I agree!
Can y'all help me out and support braille literacy through the Braille Institute?