Coming out of lockdown if you are visually impaired (Part 1)

Our Senior Rehabilitation Officer, Simon who has low vision himself, gives his thoughts on what coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown is going to be like if you are living with a visual impairment; he outlines the extra support that may be required to regain independence, confidence, motivation, and the necessary skills to navigate the very different world that we now live in.

Introduction

Lockdown is moving forward; looks like I’ll be making my own drinks and lunch again! During lockdown, many of us who have been living with sight loss for some time may have lost some of our independence.  I’m thinking about getting it back.

So, we need to think about getting on with the new norm. Lockdown has been great at times, testing at other times; all sorts of things have changed and will now possibly continue to change. I’ve been thinking about the skills and confidence that people may need to build up – the first change we may see is at home (we may even get more support now, that would be great).

There is another angle to this though – as people return to work, school, etc. what support could we be losing? It could be time to make your own lunch, drink or dinner again! We might even decide we want to tackle the post from now on.

For those who are new to sight loss, this blog covers some of the mainstays that will help you move on; for those who know them, let’s get them up to speed and ready for action.

Independence

I suppose we’ve got to ask ourselves ‘how are we doing for independence?’ It’s been really easy to let people do things during lockdown – making a drink, a quick sandwich, someone to pop to the shop with. Well, let’s think about those people going back to work etc. I’m not saying we’ve all become lazy, but it’s been nice to share the load.

Yes, it’s time to dust off those skills and strategies and get back to a more independent life!

Motivation

Some of us will battle with drive or motivation – “why bother”? Well, we need to bother; plus, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t bothered!

At some point you wanted to do something, you probably didn’t know how. Now it’s the reverse, you probably know how to do it, you just need to decide you want to do it, and have a go.

Confidence

This is a tough one to get back, it takes time. Some of the time is planning (remember the old saying, “failing to plan, is planning to fail.”)

Think about what you’ll start with and plan, plan and then plan some more. Start to build up confidence, start pushing the limits of what you do (if it’s safe). Get back into it and it’ll become second nature again – I’m not saying anything is easy, but practice makes perfect and adds confidence.

Skills

Have a think about what you have learned yourself, and have been taught by others – you may need a bit of refresher training.

Cast your mind back to what and how you learnt, why you learnt, and how you felt when you’d achieved it. There’s nothing more satisfying than cracking the skills and adding to your independence.

Henshaws is here to support you

What can you do if you’re struggling for ideas to help you move forward from the lockdown? Why not give Henshaws a call on 0300 222 5555, or we’ve loads of ideas in our Knowledge Village (such as this video about crossing the road safely).

If you are local to Greater Manchester we have a team of Enablement Officers that can offer practical help. They will have ideas and solutions to your problems, or will know someone who does! Why not give us a call for a friendly chat, and maybe even make a plan. You may feel like joining one of our Living Well With Sight Loss meetings or we have peer support groups and can offer counselling too.

Plus, we can offer specialist support to help you access print, be it eccentric viewing techniques, how to use a magnifier correctly, lighting and contrast. If you wished you’d been able to use more tech during this lockdown, how about learning some new tech skills. Our Digital Team can work with you to find the best solution – it’s a great way to increase your independence.

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Sarah
Sarah
Sarah is the Marketing Manager with responsibility for Community Services across Greater Manchester, and the Knowledge Village.