How did a rehab officer help veteran Brian Davies rediscover his passion for cooking.
When veteran Brian Davies lost his sight, one of the biggest things he missed was being able to cook confidently for himself at home. But now, after receiving support from military charity Blind Veterans UK, he has been able to revisit some of his old skills and discover a love of cooking.
Brian began to lose his sight many years after he served in the RAF for National Service. He lost the central vision in his left eye first, before a blood vessel ruptured in his right eye further reducing his vision.
Confidence in the kitchen
At the beginning of 2014, Brian found out that he was eligible for support from Blind Veterans UK. He visited the charity’s Sheffield centre for an introductory week and returned again for a week of one to one training with Liz Hale, one of Blind Veterans UK’s Rehabilitation Officer for People with a Vision Impairment (ROVI), so that he could regain his confidence in the kitchen.
Liz said: “Brian was really enthusiastic about his training and told us that he wanted to be able to cook safely again at home and he especially wanted to know how to make Spaghetti Bolognese.
“He already had a lot of knowledge about cooking and being in the kitchen. Brian had existing skills but since losing his sight, he had become concerned about using them.”
She worked with Brian throughout the week to find out more about the kitchen skills he already had, refine them and help him discover new skills and ways of doing things that would help him at home.
Liz said: “Brian told us that he kept burning his hands on the oven, so we gave him lots of experience and tips and tricks to reduce that. We provided oven shelf guards to highlight where the shelves are as well as specialist oven gloves.”
Throughout the week, Liz and Brian concentrated on mastering basic kitchen skills, with Liz giving tips to help make the basics easier, such as drawing a figure of eight on the bottom of the pan when stirring or using a bridge grasp to safely slice vegetables. She also found out which pieces of equipment, such as coloured chopping boards to contrast with the food and talking scales would be most helpful to Brian.
By the end of the week, Brian had been able to regain his confidence in the kitchen and get cooking again. Brian said: “I’ve definitely improved in the kitchen. Now I’ve become a lot more confident and I can cook properly again. Blind Veterans UK has taught me how to make a curry and Spaghetti Bolognese from scratch!”
Blind Veterans UK is reaching out to the tens of thousands of blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women who are now battling severe sight loss. It doesn’t matter how or when a veteran lost their sight, they could be eligible for the charity’s free, lifelong support
If you work with, or know of, a vision impaired veteran, refer them to Blind Veterans UK today by calling 0800 389 7979
RNIB shop has plenty of useful products to use in the home