Aging and Disability: A Person-centred Perspective
Dr Afaf Tourky.
A low vision service based on improving the daily life of elderly people operates at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Such a service is becoming essential in many parts of the world if the increasing numbers of elderly people are to be helped to retain satisfactory independent lives. Changes in vision with age are usually considered only from a medical perspective and conditions such as cataracts or glaucoma are treated by medical professionals. There is a need, however, to consider other conditions that do not require medical treatment but which result in low vision and a more limited life experience for an older individual.
This low vision service recognises the benefits of technology but looks beyond an improvement in a person’s functional capabilities toward the achievement of a better quality of life. The most sophisticated technology is of benefit only when it is accepted by the person for whom it is intended. Motivation to use an aid and its perceived relevance are crucial factors. Relevance must be judged by value to the individual person.
A number of case studies are described, indicating the variety of strategies that have successfully met individual needs. Many of the strategies are compensatory and involve minor but creative solutions. There is scope to appraise any elderly person’s wishes and to make adjustments with regard to their specific environment and community. The principles of the service could be applied within any community in the world.
Dr Afaf Tourky (Australia)
Lecturer in Special Education
School of Cognition, Language and Special Education
has had more than 25 years experience designing programs for adults and children who are blind or who have low vision.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)