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Visual impairment- advice please

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A neighbour of mine is SVI, newly so, and is currently getting no support from any services whatsoever.
The only only support he has is from his partner who has had to reduce her hours at work to help him.

He's a great guy with lots of interests who is getting frustrated with not being able to go out or do much. He's burning himself in the kitchen and I'm sure there's help out there but I don't know how they can access it.

This is an area I'm not at all familiar with and would like to help them as they're such nice people and so friendly.

If anyone can point me in the right direction I would be extremely grateful. Thanks 😊


A starting point should be your local authority 'mobility team', or some such name. They should be able to give helpful advice and sometimes assistive equipment.

Additionally I would recommend seeing if there is a local VI association or some such. I volunteer for a local one and they are able to offer various support.

Possibly the most valuable is if they have any group meetings of similar age to your neighbour. If they are like ours they can almost certainly offer practical advice by members who have found ways of dealing with their condition. This can be most valuable in lifting people's mood.

They may also offer occasional events which encourage people to get out and feel less isolated.

I’d contact the local council and ask for a referral to the visual impairment unit and occupational health. Also ask for a referral for benefits advice, some councils have welfare rights teams some don’t but he should be applying for pip at least if not esa new style

Sunny Clouds:
When I was 'night blind'  (which meant, for example, in daylight, not being able to see anything below table height in a coffee shop such as Starbucks, Costa etc., and not being able to see the pavement after lighting up time (with the streetlights on), I had to turn to Ouchers for help because I fell through the cracks in the system.

One pointer was to the RNIB, and they were super in steering me towards a local visual impairments charity who were very helpful.  I was examined and advised by an ophthalmologist.  They sold me a white cane.  They said normally they didn't sell one to someone who hadn't done a course, but I'd arrived with a home-made one (!) so they sold me one but did say that if I later felt I did need a course, the council did courses on how to use them.

I contacted the council on the number the charity gave me and was told I had to be registered.  Yes, I said, that's why I'm phoning.  I got nowhere.  You've probably worked out what the miscommunication was.  I thought they meant I had to be registered on the course, they meant I had to be registered VI or SVI to do the course. 

I bet if I'd gone back to the local charity, they'd have given me more help and steered me through the system, and if not, the RNIB might well have recommended other local sources of help.

So I think something important is not to hesitate to ask for help and keep asking for it.

Thanks 😊

All this information is a lot to take in and I'll go away and research what's available locally and make some notes.

I want to be able to present some coherent and easy to follow next steps for my neighbours to take as I think they're feeling overwhelmed and at a loss as to where to turn to for help.

You all know what it's like trying to navigate your way through Social Services for the first time. It's quite bewildering especially when you don't know what you're actually entitled to.

So thanks again for all your pointers and advice. Hopefully I can help them improve their quality of life.


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