Baking has never been more popular since programs like Great British Bake off hit our screens. This show has influenced thousands of people across the UK to pick up their whisks put on their aprons and re-discover their passion for baking.
It doesn’t matter whether you see yourself as a Nigella or a Mary Berry or Candice Brown (winner from Great British Bake off)... everyone can and should enjoy baking.
As we get older many people lose their confidence in the kitchen and stop baking as they may not see as well as they used to; but this should not stop you from perfecting your puff pastry or fruit cakes. The key to confidence and success in your kitchen is down to three simple steps;
Lighting is an essential ingredient whilst you are baking; there are simple methods to increase lighting levels in your kitchen. Add extra light by investing in good quality under cupboard lighting, which help to light up dark spaces. Portable lighting like the Z light is great to use in the kitchen as it is battery operated and has no trailing wires which can be a trip hazard, this can be used while you are measuring ingredients or reading recipes.
You don’t need to spend a fortune but make sure the lamp you purchase has enough LED’s to be effective and is bright enough to light up what you want to see and read. Read previous blogs on why lighting makes a difference.
Magnification - A product such as the Eschenbach smartlux DIGITAL can be used to read recipes in a cook book; with up to 12x magnification and a variable eye to lens distance, reading whilst cooking is made so much easier. The built in light is a handy feature too! There are many different magnifiers on the market to choose from and it is important to think about what you want to do and which magnifier is most suited.
Top Tip! Increasing lighting levels and introducing magnification are two key items that you want to add to your shopping list of ingredients. Remember; by increasing lighting and introducing magnification, you increase contrast which makes things much easier to see. Getting a low vision assessment can be arranged through your doctor and you will see someone who can help you determine what type of magnifier would suit your personal requirements.
Reduce Glare - to reduce glare minimise the amount number of shiny surfaces you have in your kitchen. Light shining onto shiny metal can cause glare and discomfort so minimise the amount of shiny stainless steel gadgets you have in your kitchen. You can still be stylish with matt surfaces and there are some fabulous bold colours on the market that are in fashion and can also help to improve contrast.
Contrast- For most people improved contrast means things are easier to see. Think about using different coloured measuring bowls, a white bowl will most likely blend into the background and the ingredients are harder to see. There are some great products on the market that are brightly coloured and offer great contrast like mixing bowls and chopping boards.
Talking kitchen scales are a low cost investment and make measuring ingredients much easier. A ‘Thoughtfully Designed’ set of scales incorporates a measuring jug with big bold numbers which are easier to see and the real icing on the cake is when you pour in your ingredients, the scales will tell you in a friendly voice the weight of the ingredients.
Protection - all responsible bakers need to make sure they can protect themselves against injury and this is no exception. Investing in some extra-long oven gloves will help to protect your arms and hands from accidental burns.
Useful gadgets -There are some great talking timers on the market to help you keep track of cooking times so you don’t end up with a disaster in the kitchen.
With so many gadgets available and great tips, there has never been a better time to carry on baking... Discover more visit www.associatedoptical.com
There are also a range of wider solutions and advice offered by the Disabled Living Foundation to help you keep mobile and independent at home. http://www.dlf.org.uk/living-made-easy
10 top tips to make the most of your sight using light!
With the dark night’s drawing in, we all can benefit from better lighting in our homes. Regardless of your age getting your lighting levels correct is important and the majority of people over the age of 60 need much more lighting than when they were 20. This is especially important for anyone with sight loss. It’s not just about adding light but understanding the type of lighting which will benefit you the most…
So why is the right lighting important?
1. You can make the most of the sight you have by improving the clarity and contrast of what you are looking at. This is especially important for both sight loss and someone living with Dementia.
2. When it is dark in your home, there is a risk of trips and falls and feeling nervous about moving around your home. Good lighting can make you feel more confident and comfortable.
3. Thinking about what you want to do at home and planning your lighting means you can enjoy your hobbies and daily living. If you enjoy cooking make sure you have extra lighting in your kitchen, on your worktops and under cupboard lighting can make a real difference.
4 If you are using portable lighting in your kitchen make sure you don’t have trailing wires as they can be a trip hazard. Ensure trailing wires are tucked away or better yet use battery operated lights to reduce the risks of trips and falls.
5. Reading- a desk lamp or floor standing lamp shining over your book below eye level will give you maximum benefits. Above eye level can cause glare and will make it harder to see what you want to read. Make sure the lamp is sturdy and does not topple easily; the base should be solid and the arm flexible to ensure you can target the light where you need it.
6. Keep lighting even throughout your home so you don’t move from one room to another and are suddenly faced with glare or brighter lights. This can cause confusion and it is much better to keep the lighting in your home even and add extra lighting with floor and desk lamps.
7. Lighting in hall stairs and landing is especially key and by ensuring these spaces are well lit, will help you to feel more confident when walking up and down the stairs. You can add extra sensor lights that come on when you need them most. These are relatively low cost and battery operated.
8. Be Prepared- when you go out take a small travel light with you as this is really useful when reading labels in a supermarket or menu’s. Battery operated lights are the best solution and are small enough to fit in a bag.
9. Choosing suitable portable lighting is important so make sure you buy a lamp that does not get hot to touch, the bulb does not protrude out of the shade and it is flexible allowing you to angle the light where you need it most.
10. Avoid glare which means make sure the lamp does not reflect from shiny surfaces and you are not getting glare from outside shining directly into your eyes. This can affect how independent you are in your home or out and about.
If you are concerned about your sight, a visit to your optician is a good place to start. If a problem is detected, you'll be referred to the hospital to see an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). Your GP will be kept informed, and will give you extra support and advice if you need it.
Sandra Taylor, Marketing & Executive Coach. Developed solutions to improve the lives of people living with sight loss for over 20 years.