Man was in the process of cleaning his homes balcony

After losing my eyesight, I still find it easy to take care of myself and my house, though I may do this slightly differently from those with good eyesight.

I am often asked, “How do you clean your house?” or “How do you prepare meals? Does someone bring you food?” 

I must confess at these times I am tempted to give a “smart” answer, but I remember most people really don’t know a blind person; if they were blind, they’d be lost. Thus, I try to answer their questions.

First, I have always been one ready to help out in the house. From an early age I was expected to do my share of household chores, including cleaning house, doing the laundry with a wringer washing machine and cooking for my father and brother. As a young adult out on my own, I took care of my house and my meals. 

Later, because my wife also worked, I helped do the household chores, whatever was needing to be done. Thus, after losing my eyesight, I still find it easy to take care of myself and my house, though I may do this slightly differently from those with good eyesight.

Take sweeping the floor. I am sure I take more swishes with the broom, but usually get most of the dirt and crumbs swept to a certain place where they can be gathered up, either with a dustpan or the vacuum cleaner. In vacuuming the rug, I am aware it takes me longer than most sighted. I often go over the same place more than one time; overall, I get the job done.

One reason I manage well is I know each room and what furniture is in them. But don’t put me in a strange room and expect me to clean it — that would be trouble.

Bathroom cleaning is the same: knowing where the toilet, sinks and tubs/showers are and where cleaning items are stored. This task is easy for me today because for years I cleaned the bathrooms while my wife did cooking and baking. Then after her cooking was complete, usually she would sweep the kitchen floor while I vacuumed the bedrooms, hall and into the front room. She would finish vacuuming the front room/dining room while I mopped the kitchen floor.

Mopping, I do either in a squatting position or on my knees. I use a large wet rag and start in the areas farthest from my water in the sink, finishing from the sink to the dining room last. Again, I know the layout of the room, so this is easy for me; I can still get down on my knees without too much difficulty.

I don’t do dusting, though I do wipe the windowsills thoroughly every month or so with furniture wax. I can’t see the dust on the furniture — I figure there must not be any. I will also use furniture wax/polish and wipe down all interior doors, door frames and bathroom and kitchen cabinets occasionally.

Cooking is easy. I have been cleaning or peeling garden vegetables for so long I don’t need to see what I am doing. Making a potato salad takes the same ingredients as making a potato salad did years ago, so it is easy for me to prepare what is needed.

Now baking cakes, well yes, I do bake cakes, but I don’t measure ingredients exactly like most do, whether liquid or dry. I don’t try to make fluffy cakes; mine are more on the heavier side — not soggy, but like applesauce cake or zucchini bread. I am sure my mixing a cake would really shock those who measure ingredients precisely. I know the basic ingredients needed, but don’t worry about the exact measurement.

There is one pie my family always asks for when visiting me, a recipe I made up some 30 years ago. I was given a can of mango sauce and asked to make a pie; I had never heard of mango pie, and there was no recipe. After a couple not-so-good pies, I now have the recipe down, and am told it is delicious: mango cream cheese pie.  

This is not a low-fat, low-calorie pie. I have thought of making it with less fat and calories, but fear I’ll really make a mess. So I stick to my known recipe. Besides, though not low-calorie, we don’t have it very often, so it is a special treat.

Have a great day!

Ernie Jones, a registered nurse who retired due to vision loss, can be reached at 529-9252 or

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