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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Background: A National Conversation on Aging and Vision Loss

Picture of depressed older person

The White House Conference on Aging occurs once every 10 years, providing an opportunity to focus attention on the issues facing older people. In 2015, the Conference emphasized four key issues: retirement security, healthy aging, long-term services and supports, and elder justice.

Read more about the activities and outcomes of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging at the official website.

White House Conference leaders encouraged organizations and individuals to lead discussions and listening sessions throughout the country, and AFB participated in multiple ways.

AFB hosted "A National Conversation on Aging and Vision Loss: Giving Feedback for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging" as a part of AFB's 2015 Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Through this session, we gathered feedback about issues related to aging and vision loss to share with legislators, administration officials, and advocates.

Major Areas of Concern

  • Obtaining reliable assistance with managing financial and other concerns
  • Managing medications
  • Obtaining transportation for social, shopping, and medical needs

Financial considerations raised included having to retire early due to vision problems and having enough money to make ends meet. Participants also expressed concerns on:

  • Obtaining low vision equipment that makes living with vision loss more manageable
  • Waiting lists for services and lack of trained personnel
  • Lack of funding for services
  • Lack of coordination between the medical community and rehabilitation services
  • Lack of understanding on the part of the eye medical community including doctors who discount patient concerns because they do not understand the impact of vision loss
  • Need for public education and education of service providers such as assisted living staff and other aging service providers

Letter and report in response to the White House Conference on Aging

Using the feedback gathered from an online survey and from multiple meetings with people with vision loss and their allies, families, caregivers, and friends, AFB authored a paper and report which were sent to the President of the United States, leaders from the White House Conference on Aging, congressional offices, and beyond. The letter was signed by over 70 organizations in the fields of aging and vision loss.

For more detail, read the highlights on the VisionAware Blog as well as our White House Conference on Aging Letter and Final Report.

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