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Services and support for older people with sight loss Expert Briefing - 23 rd January 2013 Claire Ball Development Manager, Equalities & Human Rights.

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Presentation on theme: "Services and support for older people with sight loss Expert Briefing - 23 rd January 2013 Claire Ball Development Manager, Equalities & Human Rights."— Presentation transcript:

1 Services and support for older people with sight loss Expert Briefing - 23 rd January 2013 Claire Ball Development Manager, Equalities & Human Rights

2 Who are our customers? Impairment Estimated number retired people in UK Mobility 5.7 million Manual dexterity 2.5 million Physical coordination 2.2 million Hearing 2.1 million Personal care 1.7 million Continence 1.7 million Memory or concentration 1.7 million Sight 1.6 million Lifting, carrying, moving objects 6.4 million No impairment 2.7 million With at least one impairment 9.3 million

3 Impact of sight loss People with sight loss experience: More difficulty in accessing health services Report having lower feelings of wellbeing and lower satisfaction with overall health; Sight loss increases care needs, in part because it makes it harder to manage other conditions; Reduced self-confidence, particularly in new environments, can prevent people going out and about; Face barriers to accessing travel and shopping; Risks of falls, isolation and depression increase; Are more likely to experience financial hardship

4 Impact of sight loss – daily living Travel 60% of older people with sight loss reported that they needed someone to help them get out of the house Only 30% of those of retirement age could hail a bus Shopping Only 29% of those aged 75 reported being able to go to the corner shop Only 26% of those of retirement age could go shopping in a department store for clothes Money Management 48% of those aged 75 and over needed help to manage their money

5 Emotional impact of sight loss 35% of older people with sight loss are also living with some form of depression 44% report that they feel moderately or completely cut off from people and the things around them Nearly 50% say that they always limit the amount of walking they do outside the house Increased risk of falls The majority of people over 75 have three or more long-term conditions; 60% of women, and 36% of men aged 75 and over live alone Sight Loss UK 2012

6 Access to information & services Blind and partially sighted older people report not being able to access information and that they found out about services by chance, through lucky encounters and sometimes after years of not knowing about a local service ‘Quick Wins and Missed Opportunities’ – RNIB/OPM report 2012

7 Older people & sight loss – Age UK’s work Falls Awareness Week 2011: Watch Your Step! Falls Awareness Week aims: to raise awareness of the different risk factors for falls what older people can do to reduce these risks what services are available to help older people reduce their risks of falls FAW 2011 focused on the link between vision and falls. Reduced vision can affect balance, co- ordination and mobility. Age UK promoted three key messages - Eye health checks are a vital part of looking after ourselves Wearing the right glasses at the right times can reduce our risks of falls Simple changes to our lifestyle and environment can improve vision and help prevent falls

8 Falls Awareness Week impact Over 1,200 local events held nationwide to promote falls awareness. Almost 85 per cent of those who attended a Falls Awareness Week event in 2011 said they learnt about reducing their risk of falls after visiting the event ‘I did not know that I could have my eyes tested at home. I am disabled and unable to visit my local optician without great difficulty… Eyes At Home are coming to the scheme for a day and I shall be having my eyes tested along with several other residents who, like myself, normally struggle to arrange this.’ Ms A. Stevens, St Clements Court ‘I had a fall outside the Black Boy [hotel]…People helped to pick me up…and I went home on my own. Now I fear going out for fear of falling again. ‘I have learned quite a bit from the event today. I feel a bit more confident because of it. Thank you.’ Ethel, Sudbury, 94 years old

9 Developing Age UK’s practice Working with RNIB’s Older People’s Impact Team ‘Seeing it from their Side -Adapting older people’s services for support sight loss’ – resource guide 2 regional joint Age UK/RNIB seminars London, October 2011; Leeds, April 2012.

10 Key services, activities & support Communication (including different formats) Access to and use of information, including benefits Mobility and access to transport Stimulation, engagement and participation Social inclusion and relief from isolation Health and wellbeing, including access to services Emotional support, in various forms Awareness of, and access to, equipment and technology Improvements to housing, care and support

11 Developing inclusive services – Age UK Leeds Developing a Café in Leeds City Centre Safe, accessible and inclusive space for older people in busy city centre Awareness-raising for staff and volunteers in working with older people with sight loss

12 Developing inclusive services – Age UK Leeds

13 Developing inclusive services - Volunteer befriending support Age UK Kensington & Chelsea Since 1997, has been connecting young volunteers (16-25) with older people with sight loss, with mutually beneficial outcomes; Young volunteers are recruited from local secondary schools and colleges; typically each visit one older person for an hour per week, usually for one year; Service users are referred by the Sensory Impairment Team, Social Services and Blind Aid; Visual awareness training for volunteers is provided by Action for Blind People;

14 Developing inclusive services – Volunteer befriending support Age UK Kensington & Chelsea Volunteers visit older people with a visual impairment in their own homes and help with reading letters, writing responses, reading books or newspapers, and making time for a cup of tea and a chat; ‘they are charming girls. As an ex-school mistress I have had a lot of contact with children in the past, but young people today seem to be more in touch with the world than when I was growing up. I am always amazed how little they know about history, so I hope the things they read can broaden their horizons and extend their knowledge of Britain’s past. They probably think it’s an extension of school coming here!’ (Mrs S., service user)

15 Developing inclusive services – partnership working Age UK Lincoln and Action for Blind People Informal partnership (April 2011) to use organisational skills & resources to benefit older people with sight loss in Lincoln; Close correlation between ageing and reduced vision, so welcome opportunity to find out if closer collaboration would benefit service users; Started with Action for Blind People’s worker having a desk at the Age UK Lincoln site;

16 Developing inclusive services – partnership working Age UK Lincoln and Action for Blind People Key areas of work & organisational benefits: Visual awareness training for over 20 AUK Lincoln staff (2 sites) Older people with sight loss being referred directly to Action, to ensure that appropriate support is ‘swift and seamless’ A Corporate Social Responsibility day, organised by Action, provided AUK Lincoln an opportunity to showcase services Action has increased understanding of AUK Lincoln products eg. Activities, Insurance etc., and able to promote more effectively;

17 Developing inclusive services – partnership working Age UK Lincoln and Action for Blind People AUK Lincoln’s Park Street Centre now registered with the low vision clinic as a resource centre where people can come and try out products in situ, and order them directly; AUK Lincoln has hosted the Action for Blind People bus, which gives out information on sight loss; Action for Blind People now has a central office base close to transport routes, making access easier for service users; Action has held meetings of service users groups in AUK Centre AUK Lincoln events have raised profile of sight loss and the support available from Action – recent event generated 9 enquiries in a day

18 Developing inclusive services – partnership working Age UK Lincoln and Action for Blind People Looking ahead – Increased impact of joint organisational training package Inclusion of AUK Lincoln’s services in Action’s leaflets and vice versa; Introduction of visual awareness training in the induction of all new AUK Lincoln staff and volunteers; Introduction of additional RNIB products into AUK Lincoln sites; Possible use of Action’s Vision Hotels for AUK Lincoln holidays and/or outings for older people.

19 Developing inclusive services – tackling isolation Older People Taking Control (OPTiC) – Silver Dreams project, Staffordshire Partnership of trusted organisations to enable older people, especially those with or at risk of sight loss, to manage the changes in later life and reduce isolation RNIB, Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service, Age UK, Action for Blind People, York Blind & Partially Sighted Society – working together to support older people in Stafford & York to run: User-led courses and peer-support schemes, sharing practical knowledge and experience, and providing emotional support to each other;

20 Developing inclusive services – tackling isolation Older People Taking Control (OPTiC) – Silver Dreams project, Staffordshire Volunteer ‘buddying’ schemes, providing practical support on transport, hobbies, shopping and other daily tasks; ‘Change Exchange’ self-advocacy groups – campaigning for improvements in local services and facilities, demonstrating that older people can change the way that society views older people and sight loss. Regional Advisory group – older people & colleagues from the OPTiC partnership; 13 volunteers recruited to deliver training sessions, provide practical & emotional support, and organise activities/groups.

21 Feedback from older people with sight loss ‘Without doubt Ian has helped me in every way a man in my situation can be helped. Without his patience I would be in a real mess, financially and mentally’ (Richard, 90 years old & partially sighted, receiving support from AUK Herne Bay’s I&A service) ‘I feel welcome and relaxed, as there is always someone to guide me to the door. I feel independent and have help when I need it. Everyone is very nice’ (blind older man, using AUK Portsmouth’s Activity Centre) ‘I just love the opportunity to get out’ (Renee, 90, member of the Vision Impaired Bowls Group, East Sussex Association of the Blind)

22 Age UK’s approach Evidence from research & practice – partnership working/learning from RNIB; development of Age UK’s evidence base – an ‘Expert Series’ report? Service development – supporting local Age UKs working in partnership with sight loss organisations, learning & exchange to support practice development; funding opportunities? Engagement & Volunteering – developing inclusive approaches to engage and involve older people with sight loss (VISAL project – Tracey Avison)

23 Contact details: Claire Ball Development Manager, Equalities & Human Rights T: E: W:


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