Low Vision Support Available at Passavant's Library

Published: Monday, December 12, 2016

If you lost your ability to see clearly, what would you miss most – reading a book, writing cards and notes, looking at photos of loved ones?

Now imagine some of the inconveniences that result from sight loss – the inability to pay bills, write a shopping list, or read a medication bottle.

The low vision team at Passavant Community, in conjunction with Sharon Whalon, technology associate at the SilverSmartTM Technology Center, have created a low vision library which houses technology items to help those with vision loss regain some of their independence.

“I’ve had hundreds of people over the years who are experiencing vision loss tell me how much they miss reading,” said Mary Pat Sherman, manager of rehabilitation services at Passavant Community. “There is so much wonderful technology available to help them.”

The equipment in the low vision library, which includes a table-top magnifier, portable magnifiers, appropriate task lighting and more, was purchased through donor gifts specifically designated for the project.

Sherman explained that in order to use the equipment, though, interested residents will have to complete an evaluation process by the low vision team first and then be trained on the equipment to ensure the most effective use.

“Not all low vision issues cause the same complications, so you really need the support first,” she said. “Each person is different, so we want to teach them how to adjust the equipment to address their specific needs.”

Pr. Victor Redfoot, a resident in the Abundant Life Center, is blind in one eye, and has limited vision in the other. “I was no longer able to read my Bible,” he said. “I didn’t know there were so many things out there that I could use to help me see better.”

“We are blessed with a wonderful therapy department here at Passavant,” he said. “They have really helped me. They came to my apartment for an evaluation, and I learned that the lighting was not nearly as bright as it should be for me. They also taught me where to sit to watch TV so that I can see the screen the best.”

Although he now owns his own table-top magnifier and appropriate task lighting, Pr. Redfoot is being trained to use some of the other equipment in the low vision library, and encourages other residents to do the same.

“I want to let people know that they don’t have to stop doing the things they love just because they have vision loss. There are people here who can help,” he said.

Sherman explained that, in conjunction with the SilverSmartTM Technology program, therapists can make recommendations about technology items that help residents compensate for their vision loss and lead a more Abundant Life®.

“At Lutheran SeniorLife, we are so fortunate to be so progressive in addressing the issue of vision loss,” she said. “As a company, we are taking a significant problem and finding solutions to help the residents.”

Pictured above: Mary Pat Sherman and Sharon Whalen teach Pr. Redfoot how to use a portable magnifier in the low vision library.

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