Esther SmithI have always loved to cook, but when I first began having vision problems I was concerned about being able to continue what to me had always been a very enjoyable and social activity. I have discovered some techniques that work for me and credit my father with encouraging me to find “solutions,” to be innovative, and not to give up. This training has stood me in good stead over the years.

Cooking is one of those activities that you may be encouraged not to continue for a number of safety reasons. However, there are many commonsense techniques and products available that can help you to be comfortable, safe, and efficient in the kitchen. I think you will find it well worth the effort.

First, organization is key. The most important thing to remember is that you should take charge of your own kitchen, decide how you want it organized, and insist that no one change it. Organize your pantry in such a way that you can find your canned goods, your spices, and other food supplies. For example, group foods such as vegetables and fruits separately. If you are unable to read the labels, try a large print label or magnets that are in the shape of the fruit or vegetable you are marking.

Once you have your kitchen organized, memorize what you have done or tape record it so that you can refer back to it easily. To help you with some ideas, AFB Senior Site has a major section on organizing your kitchen and also a section on cooking tips.

Go ahead and organize your kitchen and check my next Insight for some suggestions about cooking.


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More about Esther Smith

Mrs. Smith has been involved in numerous volunteer activities in Dallas over the years, and is currently a member of the American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss Board and heads up the Center’s docent program. She was married for 47 years to Don Paul Smith, a noted inventor. Mrs. Smith is a graduate of Lindenwood College for Women in St. Charles, Missouri, and was a 2006 recipient of an honorary degree from the University of North Texas. In addition, she was head of the circulation department at the Fondren Library at Southern Methodist University for 11 years. Mrs. Smith has three daughters and seven grandchildren. For more about her experiences with macular degeneration, look for the AFB Press book, Out of the Corner of My Eye, in which she shares more of her insights, and view the video Esther and Gwen: A Mother and Daughter Story.

Listen to Esther Discussing Out of the Corner of My Eye

Transcript of Esther Discussing Out of the Corner of My Eye

Esther Smith: I have had the opportunity of reviewing several times the book entitled Out of the Corner of My Eye, and feel it is a wonderful learning tool for anyone who has that condition. The book was authored by Ms. Ringgold, who has had macular degeneration for some 10 years. It’s obvious that she’s a knowledgeable, educated woman who has chronilized her condition of macular degeneration from being a very slight case to an advanced case. I would certainly recommend either reading or listening to this book to anyone who has the condition of macular degeneration, not only to help you cope with your condition but also for your family to understand how you are coping and how they can help you.