Keeping Up Your Independent Methods During the Quarantine

Edge of kitchen sink on left. Full compost container, chopping board with sharp knives and other utensils all used, dish towel and box of raisins.

If you share a home with others, it’s been a hard time for maintaining independence. Everyone is in the kitchen at once, and every countertop cluttered. It may be tempting to say “Okay, you do it!” It takes extra effort to keep up your own independent low vision or blind methods. You could say something like “No thanks, I’ll come back in a few minutes. Can you leave the sink clear ,” Standing your ground like this can give you back resolve and a boost.

During this time of COVID 19 most of us have been stuck at home for nearly three months. And our families or roommates are not leaving the home either, or not much. There always seems to be someone bumping around the kitchen when you are hoping for a peaceful time making breakfast.

Here is a section adapted from Chapter 7 of my new book, called ”Give Me Liberty or Give Me…Safety?”

People with good sight sometimes leave power tools on the kitchen table or extension cords stretched across the living room rug. These are hazards if you can’t see, more so if your vision loss is recent. The loss of scanning by sight means you can’t tell what’s in your path unless you put it there. And because you don’t know it’s there, a simple laundry hamper on the stairs becomes a booby trap.

Living with others is rarely easy. Living with people who have a different dominant sense makes discussions even more interesting! Especially now as we continue to be in our homes all together.

Strangely, the same person who seems to ignore your safety by leaving the dishwasher door open so you smack your face on the edge of the counter, is trying her best to keep you away from the stove. For your own safety, of course.

Safety is important, but fears for someone else’s safety can get in the way of independence. Some parents of visually impaired youngsters control access to the kitchen for fear of accidents, hindering the development of their kids. This can also happen when adult children have a visually-impaired senior living with them.

Everyone means well. But you—who have been fighting to get that darned laundry hamper off the stairs—are determined to use the gas stove and the ten-inch chef’s knife!

Isn’t that dangerous? Who’s in charge here? Finding a balance between your safety and your liberty, while also contributing to the household, is what makes those negotiations so hard—and so important.

This post is adapted from my new Book, When You Can’t Believe Your Eyes: Vision Loss and Personal Recovery, Chapter 7.You’ll find links to print and accessible copies and the Talking Book and Bookshare catalog entries on my home page, and on the book page where you can also apply for a free copy of the print, or accessible eBook.

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