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Shopping in Lockdown for a Blind/ VI person

Shopping bags

Blind and partially sighted people often have a system in place to help them with sorting, storing and cooking food. Sticking as much as possible to their system will help them during this difficult time. The following guidance will be useful when you are helping someone who has sight loss who cannot get their own shopping.

Only help if you are completely well yourself and have not been in contact with someone who has symptoms of Covid- 19 during the last 14 days.
If at all possible, talk to the person you are going to be helping. Find out:
 Do they have any allergies or dietary requirements?
 Do they want a particular brand or are they happy for substitutes?
 Would they prefer microwave meals or other ready meals?
 Would they prefer veg or fruit that is pre chopped to make cooking easier?
 Do they have a system for sorting and labelling food that they need your help
with e.g.
 Talking tin lids– used to record the content of the tin
 Pen Friend (system to record contents on a sticky dot attached to the food)
 Elastic band system e.g. 1 band for peas, 2 for beans, 3 for fruit etc
 Writing the contents or cooking instructions in large black felt tip on a sticky
 Buying ready meals that have the same cooking time and temperature
If you are going to help sort or label food please:
 Label food before delivering it to the blind or partially sighted person
 Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before
and after handling the packaging
 Clean any devices you use such as a talking tin lid or pen friend thoroughly with
antibacterial wipes before and after handling
Government advice is that volunteers or those helping with shopping should not enter the person’s home. This is to reduce the risk of infection. For many people however, they will need you to explain the content of any shopping and perhaps cooking instructions. To do this safely:

 Speak to the person by telephone to explain what shopping has been purchased and left for them.
 If this is not possible, then please ensure you stand outside, at least 2 meters/6 feet away from the person when explaining the contents of shopping.
 If there is no other option, the person requests that you enter the home and you are happy to do so, e.g. to unpack shopping, ask them to open the door themselves and move into another room while you are in the home. Please wipe down any surfaces you touch with antibacterial wipes before leaving.
Further information
Government advice on helping others: Helping others