More than 8.5 million older Americans currently experience various forms of visual
impairment. That number will likely double by the year 2020. Diminished sight presents
significant challenges at any age, but seniors also often wrestle with other difficulties
associated with aging: restricted mobility, and wide-ranging health problems. Blind Service
Association offers a group of programs specifically aimed at helping seniors live better with
The Vision Connection is a social and educational membership club for visually impaired people
over the age of 50 with declining sight. Its purpose is to offer support and enrich their lives by
providing opportunities for social networking and learning.
Vision Connection members also attend concerts, go on boat rides, have lunch at favored
Chicago dining spots, and attend lectures given by top ophthalmologists or other professionals
working in areas related to vision loss among older members of the community.
Members also receive a monthly newsletter available in large print, cassette, e-mail, or digital format.
Losing the ability to read can be a great frustration for someone losing their sight. At Blind Service Association (BSA) volunteers are available to help read mail, sort pill bottles, write correspondence and help balance monthly check statements. Having access to reading has helped to
keep many people out of nursing homes and provides them with a sense of dignity that comes from
maintaining their independence in their own home. To learn more about BSA's reading program please contact Allison Lewis at 312-236-0808.
For people who have central vision loss due to macular degeneration or other causes - Blind
Service Association offers a workshop in eccentric viewing. The workshop is headed by a
developmental optometrist. Participants learn to maximize the use of their healthy peripheral
vision, bettering their ability to handle problems of daily living. The program also helps
participants sharpen auditory perception and improve balance and spatial awareness.
Losing one's sight to age related eye diseases for most people is a devastating ordeal. Often
talking with others going through the same experience can be helpful. Blind Service Association
hosts a support group with a trained facilitator. Participants gain from others' knowledge in
an understanding, sympathetic setting where they can feel free to express their thoughts and
feelings. Attending a support group can also be a valuable social outlet, people often make
friends and enjoy themselves while getting the support they need.