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Receiving a vision loss diagnosis can be hard to come to terms with. If someone is not ready to hear advice or accept support the message will likely not get across.
To help you support someone who is experiencing vision loss, it’s important to first understand what they are dealing with and how you can help them.
Supporting someone in the early stages.
By not making assumptions, being clear and showing empathy, you can build the foundations for strong conversations.
Here are some ways you can show your support:
- Make sure you understand their diagnosis and the services that are available to support them. For more information, explore our services.
- Help them with daily tasks such as getting to appointments, managing finances and shopping.
- Be a sounding board as they adjust to the changes that come with vision loss at their own pace.
- Listen with empathy; hear and understand what they are saying to you without judgment.
- Encourage them to seek emotional support and understanding outside of the home, if or when they are ready. For more information, explore supporting your wellbeing.
- Tell the truth. Celebrate the wins but acknowledge the losses and find ways to move forward.
Adapting to change
Adjusting to this new way of living can be difficult, but it is possible. Your support can help them be more willing to accept help and start to understand that they can continue to do the things they love, just differently.
“People are good at adapting. It’s our natural way to be. But when someone thinks about trying to maintain their world and now have so many medical appointments and treatments on top of it, it’s a lot to deal with.”
— Joanne Northcote, service provider at Vision Australia.
As the person you are caring for is seeking support, the way they need to receive the help may change. This may become more regimented, or it can be woven more casually into their everyday life. Let them lead the way and try not to force your idea of ‘what is right’ onto them.
Encouraging external support
While you can offer them strong support in the home, there are other formal avenues out there that can help them come to terms with their diagnosis.
These support services can include:
- Visiting an eye health professional to provide more in-depth information about their eye condition, relevant services and practical planning assistance. For more information you can call Vision Australia on 1300 847 466.
- Joining a Quality Living Program where you or the person you are caring for can talk with others who share your experiences and learn how they are dealing with their journey. For more information, explore our Quality Living Programs.
- Seeking peer support to speak to someone one-on-one who has had a similar experience and may understand what you’re going through. For more information, explore supporting your wellbeing.
The beginnings of a diagnosis can be mentally and emotionally draining, so make sure you are there to help in the ways the person you are caring for wants you to be.
How to reach out
If you and the person you are caring for are ready to take the next steps forward, Vision Australia is here to support you in locations across the country. Visit us online today to begin your journey.
If you’re located in South Australia, you can contact See Differently with the Royal Society for the Blind on 1300 944 306 or email them at [email protected].