Topic: Living Well: A re-ablement approach to age related vision loss

Day: Thursday 15 October 

Time:  3:30pm-4:00pm AEDT


 VisAbility has a  vision for independence for people living with low or no vision. VisAbility has a  vision for independence for people living with low or no vision. 
Living with vision loss can be isolating. The Living Well Group provides older adults living with vision loss the opportunity to come together and learn valuable information to improve their independence. Importantly it also allows them to connect to a peer group of people with similar experiences.
VisAbility believes that storytelling inspires empathy and empathy builds connection. The Living Well Group also provides the opportunity for participants to share their stories with others to improve social and community connections.   The Living Well Group was based on Dr. Sonya Girdler and VisAbility’s research that aimed at addressing the needs created by age-related vision loss. 
Living Well Groups provide an opportunity for those who experience blindness or vision impairment to:• Learn about common eye conditions and the effects;• Discuss strategies and aids that assist those who experience vision loss to achieve their potential;• Learn more about services provided by VisAbility;• Gather information about valuable services provided by other groups in the community.
Living Well Group Sessions cover:
Session 1: Understanding Vision Loss. Information about eye conditions
Session 2: Maximising remaining vision and using other senses. The 5 B’s: bigger, bolder, brighter, being organised and beyond vision (using other senses). E.g. Lighting and Tactile Marking
Session 3: Staying in Touch. Time & date, telephone, writing, alternatives to writing (eg recording devices) and Technology.
Session 4: Managing Personal Care (eg wardrobe management)), Medication and Money. 
Session 5: Household management. Eg cooking and dining techniques.
Session 6: Community Participation and Stepping out. Included leisure, recreation, community safety, mobility aids such as white canes and Sighted Guide.
VisAbility will share the results of the evaluation of Living Well Groups which was based on:
Geriatric Depressions Scale, which has been widely used with older adults and in community settings.
Age Related Vision Loss (ARVL) Self Efficacy Scale, which includes knowledge of self-efficacy, activity self-efficacy and communication self-efficacy.
Activity Card Sort – Australia, which measures participation in leisure, social and instrumental activities by older adults. 
100% of participants with vision loss would recommend the Living Well Group to others.
An unexpected benefit was the interest from carers to attend providing reinforcement of strategies learnt and provide ongoing support following program completion. 
VisAbility is keen to share our speacialist knowledge of vision impairment with others in the Aged Care sector.




Kary is Executive Manger Client Services at VisAbility. Kary is responsible for providing strategic leadership, business development and day to day management of innovative and efficient client services for VisAbility Ltd. Brands include VisAbility Vision Services, Guide Dogs WA, Kites Children’s Therapy, and Kites Toybox.

Kary has comprehensive experience in working with people with a disability, Aboriginal Australians, mental health services and remote communities gained from more than 25 years in the not for profit sector – 15 of these in senior management roles.