Support Groups and Other Resources
Importance of Joining a Support GroupIf you’ve been diagnosed with an eye condition, have a family member who has, or have become a caregiver, joining a support group may be the most important thing you’ll ever do. Whether online or in your local community, such groups offer the opportunity to talk to others; share common concerns, frustrations, and stories; and find solutions to your vision-related difficulties. For more information on support groups, you can read Support Groups and the Adjustment Process. Check out Finding Support Groups for more information including links to directory listings of support groups. VisionAware also offers an “ask any question about support groups” topic on the VisionAware message boards. If you cannot find a support group in your area or you would like more information about what to expect, or even how to find a group, be sure to post a question. You will need to sign up for VisionAware before you can participate in the message boards. You may be running a support group and want to interact with other facilitators. We have set up a forum for you. Please log in and post or start your own discussion.
Support Group Resources
- The APH Directory of Services allows you to find local support groups as well as organizations that offer counseling and adjustment services, low vision services, mobility training, and vocational rehabilitation.
- MD (Macular Degeneration) Support offers The International Low Vision Support Group network with a directory of groups which meet all over the world. It provides materials and resources for leaders, archived audio-visual presentations and a Facilitator’s Kit to get a group started. In addition, it hosts TeleSupport, a year-round program of monthly group support sessions held over the telephone. It is designed for low vision seniors anywhere in the U.S. who have no access to the Internet or cannot attend a live support group.
- The American Council of the Blind (ACB) has a list of helpful resources for people with vision loss and their families. It also has a national directory of affiliates in each state. Seniors can find information through the ACB affiliate Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss.
- Low vision issues are addressed through the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International.
- The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers tuition-free distance education courses in various media on topics, such as participating in or even initiating a a self-help groups and dealing with many issues related to blindness and low vision.
- The National Federation of the Blind Seniors Initiative provides low vision resources and online discussion groups.
- Vision Exchange is an online resource for support group leaders who facilitate support groups for adults with vision loss. The purpose is to exchange ideas, information, and community resources to help adults with low vision be more independent.
- The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) was the first community-based nonprofit organization in the country to address the needs of families and friends providing long-term care at home. FCA now offers programs at national, state, and local levels to support and sustain caregivers, and has an online family support group.