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Minnesotans with Vision Loss Problems Turn to Us

Hello, I’m Kate Grathwol, CEO and president of Vision Loss Resources, and I’m proud to kick off our first blog.

We’re hearing a lot about the graying of America and our aging population.

Today, statistics tell us that the fastest growing demographic is age 65 and over, or 12 percent of Minnesotans.  By 2030, it increases to 30 percent.  According to the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), one in four people between 64 and 74 will be affected significantly by age-related diseases like macular degeneration. For age 75, it’s one in three people for the same diseases.

What does all this mean?

It means the Baby Boomers, people in their early 60s, suddenly no longer will be able to see their spouses’ faces, or even their own faces in a mirror.  They won’t be able to make coffee safely in their homes. They won’t be able to see their wrist watches or computers, or read the e-mails from the grandkids or even see their faces.  They simply don’t know what to do, and they have no idea that services are available, so they become isolated socially. They stop going to church. They stop going to card group with friends because they no longer can see the cards. They are afraid of making a mistake socially.

What happens if they don’t receive some sort of assistance along the way?

Another AFB national statistic says is it takes about five years from the time a person is diagnosed with vision loss until they reach the doors of a facility like Vision Loss Resources, which means this person slowly has watched a decline in their ability to read the newspaper, bills, see their family’s faces.  Their feeling of safety and security in their home disappears with the gradual loss of vision.

Yet all they really need is for someone to say to them, “There is a way out, there is hope.” That is what we offer at Vision Loss Resources.

We get together and folks learn how to read cards with Braille or large print, or learn how to use an iPad with large print or voice-over. We learn that even with reduced vision we can knit again, tend our gardens, work safely in the kitchen and even in the woodshop. We learn there is someone who has walked down this road before and there is a friendly face who knows your story. We know the fear and loss you are going through.

We provide the care, comfort and support, a community of service and skills for people with vision loss.

You are not alone.

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