Cooking Basics

Kitchen safety for cooks with low vision

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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talking microwave
This talking microwave is just one example of a helpful kitchen aid for the blind or vision impaired.
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Great products, appliances, and kitchen modifications for cooks with vision loss

Navigating in a world of darkness -- brought on by vision loss or blindness -- is one of life's most challenging tasks. Seniors, in particular, are at risk for age-related macular degeneration, but vision loss, eye disease and blindness are obstacles and disabilities that affect hundreds of thousands of people of all ages. 

Thankfully, there are many innovative new tools, products and organizational systems that can make coping with blindness or vision loss, especially low vision kitchen safety, so much more manageable.  

The kitchen, a room that is typically the most highly trafficked and frequently utilized space in a home, is the first place to start when it comes to implementing products, low vision aids and techniques for the visually impaired.

Grocery shopping, cooking, preparing family meals, and dining are some of life's most simple and rewarding pleasures. Even those who do not consider themselves to be skilled chefs, still express a fondness for cooking for or dining with friends, relatives or family members. Regardless, these simple tasks of grocery shopping and cooking are still daily necessities. Unfortunately, the onset of vision loss can turn cooking into an anxiety-producing chore. 





Kitchen safety for cooks with low vision is a vital concern, as the kitchen contains some of the most dangerous appliances in any home. Hot ovens and stoves, boiling pots, microwaves, knives, and other electrical appliances can pose significant hazards to the visually impaired. For this reason, the kitchen requires special attention when if comes to modifications for a low vision lifestyle.

If you, or someone you care for is living with vision loss or blindness, here are some tips, product suggestions, low vision aids and resources to help you implement a low vision kitchen safety environment. These simple modifications will undoubtedly make life easier and more comfortable for those with vision loss, as well as raise confidence levels, helping them to feel more capable and independent.


Great Products, Appliances and Simple Kitchen Modifications for Cooks with Vision Loss or Blindness

1.  Developing a system of organization is the first step toward achieving low vision kitchen safety. Make sure friends and family members are aware of this system to ensure that utensils, ingredients, dishware, products and food items all get returned to their proper places.

2.  Labeling items with large print, braille, or other tactile identification systems can help distinguish similar types of containers, cans, cleaning products, etc. For example, if you have two similar salad dressing containers with different dressings, wrapping a rubber band around one to distinguish the two is one of the most simple identification systems.

3.  It is often quite difficult to see small or fine print numbers and degrees on stove dials, ovens, toaster ovens and other appliances. Fortunately, there are low vision products that can help. Bump (tactile) dots or 3D pens (also known as Hi-Mark pens) can be used to mark key settings. For instance, a common oven setting for baking is 350 degrees. Why not place a marker on your dial to identify that setting?  Placing tactile markings to help the vision impaired recognize and correctly turn stove and oven dials to the “off” setting is another wise safety precaution.

4.  Use a timer when heating foods. Audible timers make it easy to tell when food is done, and can serve as a reminder to turn off an appliance. A particular brand of kitchen timer known as the Boil Alert timer has been particularly popular with the vision impaired. This timer is actually a heat resistant glass disc designed to be put in a pot when heating liquids. When the liquids begin to boil, the Boil Alert rattles against the bottom of the pot, thus alerting the chef to turn off the heat.

5.  Some of the most innovative technology products for low vision kitchen safety include talking measuring jugs, talking measuring spoons, accurate and affordable talking kitchen scales, and even talking microwaves! These products will help the vision impaired to feel confident about preparing their favorite meals and recipes.

Ultimately, any of these tips, when implemented, will benefit those with vision impairment, helping them to feel safe, secure and confident in their own kitchen. If you are seeking other gifts or helpful resources for vision impaired individuals who enjoy cooking, research items such as recorded or audio cookbooks.  

Last but certainly not least, contact your local or state agency for the blind, and specify your interest on kitchen modifications safe cooking techniques for the blind. Many programs, consultations and training services are free to those who qualify.

Resources:
Vision Aware: Kitchen Safety
Home Safety Tips for Low Vision

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