Nonprofit Hadley in Winnetka helps people with failing eyesight navigate life
Losing your eyesight to age-related conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy can be devastating.
It's not only the physical disability of not seeing as well, but the emotional toll of how life is slowly, but inevitably, changing.
But Hadley, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Winnetka, offers help with its focused workshops on everyday topics such as cooking, how to operate your technology, or managing your medication when you can't read the labels.
Hadley was started in Winnetka in 1920 by schoolteacher William Hadley, who lost his sight later in life. Hadley wanted to continue to read, but he could no longer make out the words on the printed pages. So he taught himself Braille. Now the organization teaches older adults with low vision how to live their lives and retain their independence.
"You have to understand that, for adults who lose their vision later in life, everything becomes different, more difficult," said Joan Jaeger, chief marketing officer for Hadley. "Things they used to do without thinking become more challenging, like pouring their morning cup of coffee or putting toothpaste on their toothbrush."
Jaeger said that Hadley programs break down daily living routines in five-minute tutorials, giving clients a new way to do things such as cooking or dialing a phone.
"We offer tips, tricks and techniques for adapting the other senses to help people navigate their daily life," Jaeger said. "They are the tools they need to live their life without frustration."
But Hadley doesn't just tackle the physical aspects of losing vision. The emotional struggle can sometimes be just as painful.
According to Jaeger, studies show that impaired vision often brings with it other negative outcomes like falls, isolation, depression and cognitive decline.
In order to keep people active, Hadley offers monthly phone-in discussion groups that connect people with vision loss. Jaeger said anyone can join the monthly discussions by just calling in on their phones. Or, Hadley will call clients over Zoom and all they have to do is answer. Find them online at hadley.edu.
Hadley also recently launched Braille for Everyday Use, a series of workshops that includes a workbook mailed to users' homes and accompanying audio instruction available by phone or online.
The best part is that Hadley's programs and services are free. According to Jaeger, as a nonprofit, Hadley is funded by donations from both individuals and organizations.
For more, visit hadley.edu or call (800) 323-4238.
HadleyWhat: A nonprofit organization that offers programs and resources for people with low vision due to macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and more.
Where: 700 Elm St., Winnetka
Details: Call (800) 323-4238, email email@example.com, or visit hadley.edu.