Blind and Partially Sighted Elderly People
Sight loss is closely related to old age. With the growing population of seniors, the number of persons with sight loss will increase in the coming years.
View the EBU Age Related video or read the text transcription
EBU's new video on age related sight loss (a text description of the video is available just below)
(Visual: The video begins by showing a baby in the form of a simple
pictogram, who gradually increases in age, is seen in a pushchair, on a
swing and finally, jumping onto a skateboard. We then see the young man on a
bicycle, showing his progression through life as he climbs stairs,
escalators and jumps on a bus. He then hails a taxi and moves on. Having
found his direction in life, he opens a door. Going through the door he
meets a female companion, it is love at first sight, they join hands and
move on together. They have a child of their own, the cycle of life
continues, and as they walk on, they start to stoop, due to old age, and
need a stick to walk.
Narration: We say "life is too short", but really it hasn't stopped
getting longer. And the more our life expectancy grows, the more likely it
is that our eyesight will deteriorate.
Visual: The video shows the person reading a book, then having to hold it
further away, then we see an opticians eye-chart which becomes blurred. The
person is then seen accompanied by a guide-dog and a cane, and this image
multiplies on the screen which is filled with the little characters all with
guide-dogs and canes showing the scale of the problem of age-related sight
Narration: Sight loss can, however, lead to a greater sense of isolation.
Visual: The characters then fade leaving just one tiny figure.
Narration: Who will take responsibility for a growing population of
potentially visually impaired people?
Let's not close our eyes to what might become a major social catastrophe.
Visit the Euroblind web site .)
The video is also available with a voice-over in Croatian
- The new EBU information paper 'Rehabilitation and Older People with Acquired Sight Loss' (word).
- also available in French, German and Spanish.
- A partnership project between the European Blind Union and the European Guide Dog Federation with additional collaborative support and assistance from Age Platform Europe has produced a report entitled A Tale of Three Cities. This looks at the experiences of a cross section of blind and partially sighted elderly people in three European cities, Tullamore in Ireland, Salzburg in Austria and Marseille in France. The report uses specific criteria to examine the experiences of older people in adapting to poor vision whilst endeavouring to continue accessing the communities in which they live.
Report available in .docx (1.35Mo) and pdf (595 ko) formats.
- (pdf file) Report on two big projects BIOVI took on in order to secure access to information for visually impaired people in Iceland, with special attention to the needs of senior citizens with visual impairments.
- The VISAL Project
Although they represent an increasing part of the population, visually impaired (VI) seniors are one of the most marginalised communities in terms of lifelong learning. This is a clear obstacle to their active involvement in society. This is why British and Dutch experts on visual impairment and older age developped a VISAL training course tailor-made to both the age- and disability-related specific learning needs of elderly VI persons. The VISAL toolkit and train the trainer manual are available from the project website.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
2012 Ministerial Conference in Ageing ‘Ensuring a Society for all Ages'
Alan Suttie (Co-ordinator, Elderly Network) attended this meeting as an invited representative on behalf of European Blind Union (EBU) and with support from World Blind Union (WBU) who have United Nations (UN) consultative status. Download his report (.doc 25ko), and the Ministerial Declaration (pdf 381 ko)
Age related sight loss.
Nearly 90% of all blind and partially sighted Europeans are over the age of 60, and two thirds are over the age of 65.
Elderly people with sight loss may have additional health problems such as loss of hearing and reduced physical mobility.
They find it more difficult to learn new ways to adapt to their new condition and to cope with daily tasks. They are less likely to have access to adequate rehabilitation programmes or have the opportunity to register as disabled, because they feel it is ‘just part of growing old.' Agencies providing services to older people may have low awareness of sight problems. Consequently older people may be less aware of the support services available to them, and are at increased risk of isolation.
The EBU Elderly Visually Impaired People Steering Group closely followed all issues affecting the elderly and produced a concept paper (pdf 88 ko) on how to engage with them.
Of further interest may be the EBU INTERGEN project (2008-2010). Funded by the Education and Culture DG of the European Commission, this project designed and conducted by EBU aims to bring different generations together to share knowledge and experience. A wealth of documents and resources materials from this project, including a Workshop Organisation and Facilitation Manual and a Skills Handbook in
English, French, German, Italian and Turkish
as well as Skill improvement Forms divided into two categories, each with its own sub-categories.
1. Technology in English, French, German, Italian and Turkish
2. Daily Living Skills in English, French, German, Italian and Turkish.
There is also a powerpoint presentation of the project, all of which can be found in the project resource centre.
More information is available on the useful links page.
This video outlines the work of EBU in the area of sight loss due to ageing