As we move from one year to the next, it is a great time for making plans, changing how we do things and so on. New year planning for a fresh start can cover a wide range of things, from looking for a new career to starting a new hobby. However, for people with poor eyesight, it can also be a great time to set out a new regime to take better care of themselves and their eyesight, explore new vision loss solutions and more.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle can help people with visual impairments in a number of ways, both in terms of eyesight and overall health, improving quality of life along the way. But if you are concerned about your vision health, or that of a loved one, it can be a little daunting knowing where to begin with the new year planning to accomplish this. Here are some tips and ideas to help you make the changes you want for this new year.
Nutrition and Healthy Eating
It is natural for people with poor eyesight to focus mostly on vision loss solutions, but we should never neglect other aspects of health. However, diet can also play an important role in vision health, so paying attention here can have multiple benefits to eyesight as well as overall health.
In fact, some foods, including micronutrients obtained from a balanced diet can actively support vision health. Foods that are good for the eyes, such as fish, can be a real benefit for eyesight, while conversely, too much monounsaturated fatty acids can have a detrimental impact on eyesight. A healthy, balanced diet as part of a healthy lifestyle can help people with poor eyesight in several ways and offer real support for eye health.
An example of easy to cook, healthy recipes include:
- Lean Roast Chicken and Parsnips
- Sea Bass and Vegetables
- Vegetable Pie
Chicken and Chickpea Bake
A very simple, easy to cook recipe that anyone can get started with is this fabulous Chicken and Chickpea Tray Bake.
There are just five ingredients:
- Chicken Drumsticks or Thighs
- Your favorite seasoning
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Baby Spinach
You will need a couple of chicken pieces and half a cup of chickpeas per person, with the rest added to taste.
Start off by greasing a large baking tray and preheat your oven to 380F/200C. Remove the skin from your chicken pieces, it halves the fat content. Then simply arrange your chicken and chickpeas on the tray and season to taste. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about half an hour should do it. Then, add the tomatoes and put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. Once cooked, sprinkle generously with spinach, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes, then serve.
It’s a simple one pot recipe that has delicious flavors while being well balanced and healthy. People with vision impairments face additional challenges when it comes to cooking, however there is a lot of help out there from independent living aids like video magnifiers such as the Zoomax Snow 12, as well as several blind chefs who publish regular advice and helpful strategies.
A few things that you can do to make life easier in the kitchen include:
Keep Everything Organized
Keep everything in the kitchen organized, so you always know where anything you might want is stored. Group similar items together, such as knives, pans and so on. Always keep your cleaning products well away from your food and food prep tools
Use a Tray
Keep a tray on your work surface and prepare food on it. Choose a higher lipped one, like a cafeteria tray, as this will prevent items rolling off, but also contain any spills should they happen.
Transfer food products such as pasta, rice and so on from bags to rigid plastic or glass containers. It makes them easier to handle and measure ingredients from.
Avoid Boiling Water
When boiling anything, place the food products into a pan before adding the boiling water to avoid splashes or accidents.
Physical Activity and Overall Health
For people with visual impairment, life can be less active than recommended, but exercise and other physical activity bring numerous benefits. In terms of overall health, maintaining an active lifestyle has proven to help, with benefits for respiratory and heart health, as well as making it easier to manage weight and avoid obesity.
However, physical activity also benefits people with poor eyesight in terms of managing vision health impacted lives too. Regular activity helps boost overall physical performance, including balance and stamina, which bring tangible benefits for mobility when dealing with vision health problems. People with poor eyesight tend to need higher energy consumption when moving, and suffer fatigue more easily, with regular exercise helping to overcome those issues.
There are a number of exercises for visually impaired people that are simple to do and proven to be effective. Walking is something anyone can do, and 30 minutes provides a good basic workout. To aid those with visual impairments, a route can be mapped out in a garden using string, allowing an easy way to follow a safe and unobstructed route.
For individuals with low vision, apart from walking, other suitable physical activities include swimming, chair exercises, yoga, tai chi, and cycling. These forms of exercise offer diverse options that can be chosen based on individual interests and health conditions. Swimming is a low-impact activity that provides a full-body workout.
Chair exercises involve movements performed while seated, such as leg lifts and arm exercises. Yoga focuses on flexibility and balance, while tai chi incorporates slow movements and controlled breathing to enhance coordination. Cycling can be done using a stationary bike or a tandem bike for a fun aerobic workout. Before starting any exercise routine, it is advisable to consult healthcare or fitness professionals for guidance. For more suitable exercises for visually impaired people, please visit: New Year, Let Us Keep Healthy - Exercises for the Low Vision.
Vision Care and Social Well-Being
Taking care of your vision health is critical, and this includes not only using appropriate assistive technology for visually impaired people, but also scheduling an eye exam on a regular basis to assess ongoing issues.
For people with poor vision, an eye exam is crucial in managing vision health, allowing you to be proactive in dealing with overall vision issues, and implementing required vision loss solutions in a timely manner.
We must also look at social well-being too, as issues with your eyesight can have an impact on social interactions. It can be easy to fall into the trap of focusing solely on dealing with vision loss and find yourself isolated from the outside world, including friends and other social activities. This can have a negative impact on your quality of life, which is itself a problem for your overall health.
A lack of social interaction leads to feelings of isolation which are left unchecked, can become depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. Due to the challenges faced by people with poor eyesight, this is an especially important area to look at. While vision assistance technology today brings highly effective support in carrying out many daily tasks, sometimes the focus on life at home can mean that the wider world is ignored. However, independent living aids can help anyone enjoy a full, active life and manage safely in restaurants and other places, meet with friends and do everything that they want to do.
Encouraging people with visual impairment to seek out more social interaction can really help them maintain mental as well as physical health, and in our new year planning, time for social activities should be given high priority.
Looking after ourselves covers almost every aspect of life, from what we eat to how we spend our time, staying active and spending time in social surroundings all make a difference. New year planning should take into account all of these things to create a balanced, healthy lifestyle that will improve quality of life and help protect us from issues of all kinds.
Of course it may not be easy to do this. For some people who had poor eating habits in the past, such as those who like sweets, fried foods, fast food, etc., it may take a while to change their eating habits. The same goes for exercise. Those who don’t like exercise, and those who sometimes exercise and sometimes don’t exercise, may face the challenge of persistence.
However, all good results, such as getting healthier and better, are not achieved overnight and need to be accumulated step by step. Therefore, it is more important to start than to be perfect. Make a weekly plan first, and after completing it, start another weekly plan and slowly find your own rhythm. Family can also provide help and encourage low-vision people at home, giving them the confidence to slowly find a better attitude and lifestyle.