13th October 2016
Sight Advice South Lakes offer a range of assistance to visually impaired people, with the aim of enabling them to live as independently as possible. The charity was awarded £2,000 from the Holehird Trust to continue providing one to one support to members through the Community Development Officer.
The Community Development Officer carries out home visits to individuals who are experiencing ongoing sight loss, to demonstrate aids that help with independent living, such as talking microwaves, penfriend label readers and talking computer software. Emotional telephone support is available as well as help to access other specialist services and wider support from the voluntary sector.
The Community Development Officer also runs the charity’s ‘Positive Steps’ courses for those who are newly experiencing deteriorating sight. The courses introduce people to reading and writing aids and equipment for the home, as well as showing them how to get around safely.
One lady who had recently started to experience sight loss was encouraged to take part. She said: “I feel much more confident now. The sessions were excellent and I feel really reassured to know that what I see and feel is common.”
Claire Park, Director of Sight Advice South Lakes, said: “Deteriorating eyesight can be very stressful, leaving people feeling isolated, marginalised, vulnerable and dependent. It is crucial that support is provided at the point of diagnosis if the health and wellbeing of the person with the eye condition is not to deteriorate.”
The charity estimates their services benefit 350 visually impaired people, many of whom live in isolated, rural areas across South Lakeland. Every year, there are more visually impaired people in South Lakeland. There are currently 2,300 people who have a significant visual impairment and this is predicted to rise to 3,500 by 2030.
Claire said: “With our assistance, people experiencing sight loss feel less anxious and more confident about how they will manage in the future. They experience a reduction in isolation and dependency and live safer, more independent lives.”