The Bermuda Society for the Blind is dedicated to empowering people who are blind or vision impaired to learn how to live well with vision loss. Given the aging of the Island's population and the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles, which increase the frequency of diseases that cause vision loss such as diabetes and hypertension, it is predicted that low vision will become an increasing problem, resulting in many of us experiencing some degree of vision loss during our lifetime. Adapting to living with vision loss is achievable and our programmes and services have been designed to meet the specific needs of Bermuda residents with vision impairments.
· Enable individuals to retain independence at home, during their education, in the community and in the work place.
· EEnable individuals to remain safely in their own homes as long as possible
· Enable individuals who are blind or have a vision impairment to live a productive and full life
· Prevent avoidable vision loss
28 clients completed therapy; the current caseload is 41 clients; 10 individuals are on the waiting list for therapy services.
A total of 80 individuals have been served through the Education Programme with the 10 "Vision Talks" held. These sessions focus on a wide range of topics to facilitate living well with vision loss.
Of the 80 attending the Education Programme sessions, 23 are also clients. The Blind Society therefore served a total of 146 individuals during 2016.
39 Individual Therapy Plans were agreed with clients which detail the specific outcomes desired. 26 of these plans have been completed and the goals achieved. An individual client may progress to agree additional Therapy Plans with the Therapist
According to Census 2010, 3.9% (2,416) of Bermuda's population self-reported seeing difficulties that are not helped by wearing corrective lenses. Of these, 940 people reported that their seeing difficulties impacted their activities of daily living.
Given aging trends and the negative health consequences of lifestyles that promote hypertension and diabetes, it is predicted that low vision will become an increasing problem in the next two decades, even if prevention efforts were to take effect now.
Beacon House is the only facility
in Bermuda offering therapeutic and social services to individuals who are blind or have a vision
impairment. No major renovation has taken place since the early 1960’s and the
state of the physical plant at Beacon House has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer possible to
provide some of the in-house services required due to safety, modern building code and
Until the facility is renovated to an acceptable standard, services to this population will become even more limited at a time when healthy vision is becoming an increasing problem.
People with any kind of vision impairment in Bermuda rely on the services of the Bermuda Society for the Blind. It is imperative that this organization is able to continue offering services to this population.
VISION REHABILITATION THERAPY PROGRAMME - Independent Living: enables people who are blind or vision impaired to complete everyday tasks that formerly depended on vision by using special techniques, strategies, and assistive equipment and technology. This leads to increased confidence and independence, and enhances the quality of life of those affected. For individuals with low vision, the programme focuses on using any remaining vision as effectively as possible.
Ø Independent Living: Enables people to use techniques, strategies, and adapted equipment to independently manage tasks such as reading, writing, grooming and personal hygiene, selecting clothing, identifying medications, cleaning and maintaining a home and yard, food preparation, using home appliances, telling time, dialing a phone, shopping, and managing money and home finances. Support for coping with vision loss is provided, as well as suggested environmental adaptations for homes and educational or employment settings.
Ø Enable individuals to retain independence at home, during their education, in the community and in the work place.
Ø Enable individuals to remain safely in their own homes as long as possible
Ø Enable individuals who are blind or have a vision impairment to live a productive and full life
1 client was able to continue his employment after assistance to select and use an appropriate assistive device to read print.
3 clients gained privacy in personal matters having effectively learned to use the Smart Reader at Beacon House.
1 client became independently able to dial 911 using raised stick-on dots on the telephone.
2 clients improved their ability to communicate after assistance to select and use a cellphone.
1 client enjoyed a closer connection to family and friends through using raised-line paper and being able to write greeting cards personally.
3 client became less disoriented after assistance to select and use a talking clock/watch.
3 clients learned to prepare food and drinks using countertop appliances with tactile labeling.
1 client was able to shop independently by using an electronic magnifier to read price tags.
1 client was able to independently write cheques using a hard plastic moulded template.
1 client was better able to manage money by using tactile identification techniques for coins and a wallet with several dividers for paper money.
1 client was able to independently locate her personal foods in a shared refrigerator.
1 client became more able to manage household bills using appropriate magnification equipment.
1 client can now accurately manage their own laundry through appropriate space & systems planning.
VISION REHABILITATION THERAPY PROGRAMME Orientation and Mobility: Gives individuals the skills to navigate their home, school, place of employment, neighborhood and community efficiently, safely, and as independently as possible. It uses basic body awareness and movement to assist individuals orient themselves in a space, know where they want to go, and carry out a plan to get there. It allows individuals to understand their position in relation to other objects; to travel safely indoors and outdoors in both familiar and unfamiliar environments using sighted guides, white canes, and protective techniques to understand intersections and cross streets and use public transportation safely and as independently as possible. The focus may include:
sensory awareness: gaining information about the world through hearing, smell, touch, and proprioception
spatial concepts: realizing that objects exist even if not heard or felt, and understanding the relationships which exist between objects in the environment
searching skills: locating items or places efficiently
independent movement: specifically the importance of posture, balance, and gait
sighted guide: physically being in contact with a sighted person to aid in travel
protective techniques: specific skills which provide added protection in unfamiliar areas
white cane skills: use of various cane techniques to clear one's path and locate objects and drop-offs, like stairs or curbs, along the way
Independent mobility is critical for anyone with vision impairments.
9 clients mastered the use of correctly using a white cane. This gave them much more independence as they were able to better navigate their community and unfamiliar areas safely.
1 client was able to participate in recreational activities in her new community home having learnt how to navigate her surroundings using a tactile map.