Wheeling Township helps residents cope with vision loss
It is estimated that approximately 300,000 people in Illinois have low vision, a term which encompasses many vision challenges such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Wheeling Township offers its residents who are challenged with vision issues the opportunity to participate in its monthly support group entitled The Visually Impaired Support Group (VIP).
In 2000, a resident asked a member of the Wheeling Township Senior Services Department if they knew where a white cane could be obtained. One thing led to the next, and VIP was formed. From that humble start, to celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, this group continues to make its mark on members in the low vision community.
The beauty of sharing experiences and learning new ways to make everyday tasks easier was brought to light at a special workshop recently hosted by Wheeling Township's VIP members. This two-day, hands-on workshop entitled, "Living Well with Low Vision," was offered to township residents who are dealing with vision loss. One of the main goals was to provide people with encouragement and new ideas in order to live a life as full as possible, despite their vision challenges.
As part of this workshop, many ideas and suggestions were provided on how to cope with vision loss. Presented by the township and the nonprofit organization, Second Sense, it included a wide variety of topics, including dining with dignity, home safety, managing laundry and helpful tips on getting dressed. Additionally, ideas on mobility, options for magnifiers, handling medications and information on low vision equipment available were also included. Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Cody Froeter, from Second Sense, led the program. Attendees had the opportunity to try products and share many of their own ideas, including how they handle some of the emotional challenges of losing their vision.
"One of the things this group does best is to focus on being positive, to learn new ways to handle daily tasks, and to embrace the shared experience of vision loss challenges," says Wheeling Township Supervisor Kathleen Penner. "Every month, these members socialize, share tips and ideas, look at research highlights, and enjoy a speaker."
The group's motto is, 'we may lose our sight, but not our vision,' which sums up their overall philosophy and approach.
If you, or someone you know might benefit from participating in Wheeling Township's monthly Visually Impaired Support Group, call (847) 259-7730. The group meets from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month, at the township, 1616 N. Arlington Heights Road, in Arlington Heights.