Living with low vision may present as a safety risk. However, this does not mean you have to stop cooking altogether. There are several modifications one can apply to the kitchen if you or a loved one is living with low vision. These modifications offer an affordable option to adapt your kitchen so that you or your loved one. If you or a loved one wants to be more independent in the kitchen, start with these six quick fixes:
In order to safely prepare food, it is best to change the background to increase contrast. This means using light against dark colors. An easy way to apply this rule is to have two different colored cutting boards. For example, it is best to use a dark cutting board for cutting white or light colored foods such as cauliflower or white cheeses. Use a lighter cutting board for food such as broccoli, tomatoes and green peppers.
Lighting is one of the most simple modifications to start implementing in the kitchen. You can control glare by re positioning lamps and lighting. Window curtains and/or blinds also help to reduce glare especially during the day time. It is also important to decrease distance between light and task by installing task lighting. It is best to position a task light opposite your dominant hand or closest to your eye with stronger vision if possible. Another solution is to switch out light bulbs for increased wattage. Florescent, incandescent, and halogen light bulbs can be better alternatives.
It is no surprise that bright colors are easiest to see. Using bright colored tape to mark cabinet edges and knobs helps improve safety in the kitchen. Another way to cook safer is to mark temperatures on oven or stove with bright colored tape or markers. This will allow points of interest to stand out or signal as a warning for higher temperature markings.
Keeping the kitchen uncluttered is essential for cooking with low vision. Keep a simple environment by using solid colors over busy patterns. Maintaining a clear and accessible work place will allow for easier preparation and decreased risk of injury. A larger work space with reduced clutter will offer a better working environment.
Living with low vision may create increased difficulty differentiating between spices and other ingredients. A simple solution for this issue is to mark cabinets and containers with large print labels. Labeling or placing a rubber band on canned goods can help distinguish hard to read labels. Try to keep items in the same place for more accessibility.
One thing to keep in mind when cooking with low vision is that normal working distance is about 16 inches. This is important for both near and far activities and especially for glasses that are distance specific.
There are numerous kitchen modifications that could be made to improve independence. However, you do not have to make them all at once. Start with making these simple changes and comment below with your results.