Independent living tips for young people with vision impairment

Post date: 
Thursday, 15 February 2018
Photo of an isle in a supermarket

Kate Ramsden, who is blind and a guide dog user, shares her ideas to make living independently easier.


In the kitchen

  1. A George Foreman grill is great for cooking things like meat, fish and toasties as you don’t have to turn them over.
  1. A slow cooker is really convenient and useful for cooking in bulk.
  1. Talking kitchen scales.
  1. I like using frozen chopped vegetables, such as onions, peppers and garlic, to save time.
  1. I buy chopped tomatoes in cartons, beans in multi-packs and soup, beans and sausages in single tins. This helps me to tell things apart in the cupboard. Soup makes a gloopy noise when shaken which also helps.
  1. I have drawers especially for meat/fish, vegetables and batch-cooked meals in my freezer.
  1. I use a PenFriend audio labeller to label tins and batch cooked food.
  1. A liquid level indicator is helpful when making hot drinks.

Around the home

  1. I buy shampoo and conditioner with different smells to help tell them apart.
  1. Colour detectors can be really helpful when it comes to identifying clothes (you can use TapTapSee mentioned below or buy one from the RNIB Shop).
  1. I use sock locks, which are plastic circles you can push a pair of socks through, so my socks don’t become separated in the washing machine.
  1. I count the clicks of washing machine dials from the 12 o’clock position to find the desired setting.

Smartphone apps

  1. TapTapSee: for identifying objects and products
  1. BlindSquare: for finding out what street you are on and what’s around, for example shops, cafes or train stations.
  1. UK Bus Checker: for checking times of buses from local stops. You can save favourite stops for future use, set alerts to tell you when you are approaching your desired stop and plan journeys using most modes of transport.
  1. Sainsbury’s: for grocery shopping. I do my shopping by either using this app or by getting help from staff in store.
  1. Seeing AI: for help recognising friends, facial features, reading text and more (currently only available on iOS).

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