Cooking can seem like a daunting task for individuals who are blind or partially sighted. However, by adapting how you work in the kitchen and by using certain technologies, you can make cooking easy.
With a few easy-to-implement tips, individuals with vision loss can cook virtually anything in their own kitchen. Keep reading to discover some of the strategies individuals with vision loss use to make cooking easier.
Invest in Better Lighting
Better lighting can make an enormous difference for individuals with partial vision loss. Many kitchens have inadequate lighting. Invest in a good, strong central lighting source directly above where you need to prepare or cook your food.
Consider adding a light above the stovetop, for example. Or, attach a clip-on light above your cutting board. Lights can also be installed under wall cupboards.
Some individuals even buy a headlamp. A headlamp will illuminate everything you look at while freeing up your hands for cooking. Plus, you don’t need to install any special lights. It’s a good interim solution while you wait for customized lighting to be installed.
Use Color and Contrast Wherever Possible
Contrasting colors are a guaranteed way to make cooking easier. Some kitchens are deliberately designed with a monochrome color pallet: everything is the same color for aesthetic reasons.
This isn’t ideal for individuals with vision loss.
It’s easier to find dark items when they’re against a light backdrop. A white frying pan, for example, will be easier to spot on top of your black stovetop.
Colored plates, utensils, and other items can also be helpful. It’s often easier to pour a drink into a colored cup, for example, than into a clear glass.
Some individuals also invest in colored plugs and sockets. If you’re having trouble plugging in your toaster, coffee maker, or other items, then colored plugs and sockets can help significantly.
You can also invest in colored measuring cups, which enhance contrast and make it easier to see the numbers along the side.
Color Code your Kitchen
You don’t need to invest in new appliances or fresh paint to get better contrast in your kitchen. Instead, use nail polish, bright-colored tape, or raised dots to label everything in your kitchen.
Some people wrap a pan or dish with colored tape to easily distinguish it from other similar-looking items.
Others implement a complete color-coding system, where each color corresponds to a different type of dish or item.
Use Smart Labeling Technology
Smart labeling technology is changing the lives of individuals with vision loss worldwide.
WayAround, for example, is our smart assistant for the blind, allowing individuals with vision loss to tag-and-scan common items around the home.
We’ve seen people use WayAround for all types of creative purposes around the kitchen. Some use it to label canned goods with expiry dates, for example. Others use it to attach instructions to appliances.
Our WayAround system consists of an easy-to-use mobile app and a series of smart tags. The tags can be attached to virtually anything. They can be clipped, stuck, or affixed on items around the kitchen, for example. Load the tags with information about the item using your mobile app, then get started.
The simple tag-and-scan approach lets you quickly and easily identify things around you. It’s a game-changer for individuals with vision loss around the kitchen.
Use Simple Strategies to Avoid Burning Yourself
These tips are a good idea regardless of your level of vision. By following the tips below, you can reduce your chances of injuring yourself in the kitchen:
- Place a pot or pan on the burner before turning it on, and turn the burner off before removing the pot or pan.
- Turn pan handles inward from the stove or counter to avoid spills and burns.
- Outline the edges of countertops with colored tape or visible paint, reducing the chances of accidentally placing a dish on the edge of the counter.
- Buy a good pair of oversized oven mitts; longer oven mitts can protect both your hands and arms from hot surfaces in the kitchen.
Other Cooking Safety Tips for Individuals with Blindness
- Use a double spatula when frying food to reduce spills and waste
- Buy a knife with an adjustable slicing guide
- Buy a single-cup coffee maker to reduce the chances of liquid burns and spills when making tea or coffee
- Avoid using clear glasses and dishes
- Hook a liquid level indicator to your pot or glass; the liquid level will chime with a warning when the liquid is, say, 3/4 from the top
- Wear short sleeves around the kitchen to avoid having your sleeves catch or snag