Aging and vision loss is a particularly pressing area of concern. Most older adults with vision loss aren't getting the training and support they need to live independently. That's why AFB is working with key partners to transform aging-related services and support so older adults with vision loss can live with no limits.
Right now, Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies don't offer meaningful coverage for the vision-related rehabilitative services and devices older adults with vision loss need. What's more, only 2% of older people who need specialized training in independent living skills receive it, due to lack of funding and trained service providers, among other factors. This problem is only going to become more critical as the population ages — especially the Baby Boomer generation, which currently accounts for nearly 75 million Americans.
The 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss is a dynamic, AFB-facilitated nationwide collaboration that has already started yielding results by bringing together the most significant national stakeholder organizations and experts. This coalition is addressing the four main challenges of aging and vision loss:
- Funding for services
- The number and quality of professionals
- Coordination of service delivery to maximize existing resources
- The availability of low vision devices and other assistive technologies
For example, AFB is partnering with service delivery programs to ensure that older Americans with vision loss receive the skills and training they need. We're also working with physicians, allied health professionals, and others who assist older adults who are blind or visually impaired.
In addition, we're creating and strengthening public- and private-sector partnerships, so we can drive the adoption of policies and best practices for making workplaces, senior centers, and communities more welcoming for older people who are blind or visually impaired.
AFB is expanding our policy research capacity and we are leading the vision loss community in the development of a long-term research agenda addressing the intersection of aging, public health, and living with vision loss, to provide evidence-based support for our advocacy.
Working in conjunction with the 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss coalition and other partners, AFB's advocacy and research are creating a world of no limits for older adults who are blind or visually impaired.