Have You Considered A Macular Degeneration Support Group?

Have You Considered A Macular Degeneration Support Group?

Posted under Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

If you have macular degeneration or low vision, have you considered joining a support group?  Support groups for those with macular degeneration or low vision can be found in your local area or you may find that the most convenient place for support and answers to your questions is online.  Why belong to a support group?


Connect with Others

It is a great way to connect with others who have some of the same struggles you do with your vision and loss of independence. Many people with low vision often give up hobbies they love like sewing, crafts, woodwork, or playing bridge which leads to more isolation. By joining a low vision support group, you’ll find understanding and perhaps make new friends.


Learn Ways to Adapt

You will learn ways to adapt such as using the sense of touch for everyday activities.  Tips on how to distinguish the shampoo from the conditioner bottle with a rubber band, or how rubber dots can help you find the start button on your microwave can simplify your tasks.  You’ll find out how pre-packaged dishwashing detergent, laundry soap and coffee pods can make everyday living activities a little easier with less spilling.


Discover New Low Vision Aids

Perhaps you’ve been hesitant to try a new piece of technology and are not sure you want to spend the money on a new smartphone, e-book reader, or low vision CCTV.  Your fellow members can share their experience and tips as well as demonstrate to you how easy it is to use voice activated text or how to enlarge the font and spacing on their Kindle or iPad.   Do you have trouble filling your glass with water or cup with coffee without spilling? You’ll find out that many use an inexpensive liquid indicator that beeps when the cup is almost full.


Get Recommendations

Others in the group can provide their recommendations for a retina specialist, a low vision optometrist, a cleaning lady or a lawn service.


Gain Confidence and Independence

Seeing your fellow support group members living independently can be motivating.  Perhaps you’ve been hesitant to try a white cane or to ride your local bus system to get around but find that others in your group are navigating walks and travel in a safe way and can share their tips.


How to Find a Support Group In Your Area

You can find a local support group by going to www.MDSupport.org.  Groups meet at retirement centers, senior organizations, libraries, or clinics.  I found one that meets at a senior living apartment complex once a month just 3 miles from my home.  Each month attendees have an opportunity to share what is going on in their life, ask questions, or provide a low vision tip that has been useful to them.


Joining a low vision support group has many benefits to the person who has low vision as well as for the caregiver.  Both are welcome to come and learn about ways to adjust to vision loss, ask questions, or get recommendations. Go to www.MDSupport.org to find out if there is a low vision support group near you.


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN