VISIONS/Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired
Did you know that January is Glaucoma Awareness Month? There are 2.7 million people in the U.S. who have glaucoma, and that number will soar to 4.2 million by 2030. People age 60 and over are among those with the highest risk of developing glaucoma.
Vision loss and how to work with older adults with low vision was the topic of a SAGE staff training today given by Nancy Miller, Executive Director/CEO of VISIONS. We learned how to approach a person with a visual impairment and offer help, used a simple tool designed to simulate low vision to get an idea of what a person with a visual impairment might see, and even read a bit of Braille!
VISIONS runs one of two innovative senior centers in New York City focused on special populations (The SAGE Center is the other!), and SAGE and VISIONS share many of the same constituents. Overall, of people who report severe visual impairments, over 60% are age 65 and over. As more people continue to visit The SAGE Center, it’s likely that we will see more people with visual impairments. Therefore, it's important for us to expand our relationships with organizations like VISIONS and for our staff to be trained for cultural competency in areas beyond LGBT aging. Oftentimes the issues faced by older people who are visually impaired are the same for LGBT older people. Many people with visual impairments are isolated, hesitant to get help, and low-income.