The Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired offers monthly support group meetings in Montcalm and Ionia Counties. Members are attracted by the mixture of education, encouragement and social interaction offered during the meetings.
The Montcalm County Support Group, hosted by the Commission on Aging in Stanton, has been a great success over the past decade. Membership has grown and bonds of friendship and loyalty have been established. Sometimes, inexpressible aspects of human relationships have the greatest impact in vision rehabilitation. We’ve seen this in Judy, a regular attendee, who came to us after a serious decline in vision due to macular degeneration. Judy typifies our most successful clients – a person who is determined to remain active and enjoy as many aspects of life as possible.
Judy makes use of technology, including a video magnifier, to continue her pleasure of reading and household management. She delights in travel and does not let low vision stop her from experiencing more of the world. However, she has shared that her adjustment to loss of sight was an emotional struggle causing discouragement and sadness. She reports that her monthly time with the Montcalm Support Group provides a great “upper” and has been a positive factor in her movement forward as an independent person with vision impairment. “The group has become a community for me that I look forward to seeing; we don’t feel sorry for ourselves, but we have a lot of fun together.” As isolation and lack of community understanding is a big problem in the population with visual impairments, the creation of community is an essential and effective component of our vision rehabilitation activities.
A startling 1 in 6 people over age 65 and 1 in 4 people over age 75 have dramatic visual impairments that surgery and eyeglasses cannot fully correct.
The Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired offers assistance to those who live with vision loss to help them keep their independence. ABVI also works to promote the prevention of blindness. ABVI is a full-service agency, offering low-vision services, rehabilitation, and education. We can be reached at 1-800-466-8084 or www.abvimichigan.org