Through this initiative, VELUX FONDEN wishes to make a difference to senior citizens suffering from impaired vision that negatively affects their quality of life, and who are an overlooked section of the population.
Impaired vision makes it difficult to leave the house and impedes participation in activities and socialising, such as eating with others, when you cannot see what is on the plate or whether you will hit the glass when pouring. Vision impairment often develops over a number of years and is not obvious to those around the person in question, potentially resulting in too little help, too late
Why is it relevant?
Most people find that their sight deteriorates with age, but for a large group of senior citizens, their loss of sight is severe and irreversible as they contract age-related eye diseases, some of which can be treated but none of which can be cured. Those which cannot be treated are particularly hard to spot and at risk of being overlooked, resulting in significant loss of quality of life and mastery of everyday activities. Fortunately, only a small percentage of senior citizens become severely visually impaired or blind and thus formally disabled as a result of their loss of sight. Under the Danish Social Services Act, only people who are severely visually impaired are entitled to rehabilitation, which is typically carried out by one of 23 vision centres (synscentre) in Denmark(view list of visioncentres here). But even before the loss of sight is so severe that it can be classed as a disability, it has serious implications for the person in question.
Through knowledge, information and education of senior citizens with impaired vision, their relatives, volunteers and health professionals, the foundation will shed light on the implications of living with severely impaired vision in old age. The aim is to strengthen the resources of senior citizens themselves and to help ensure they get the help they need in time so that they can continue to live as active and participatory citizens with a high quality of life in their old age.
Research, social projects and specific activities are needed to improve the living conditions and quality of life of senior citizens with impaired vision. The initiative is therefore linked to the foundation’s funding areas: Active Senior Citizens, Ageing Research and Eye Research and Social Initiatives in Denmark.
With this initiative, VELUX FONDEN wishes to support efforts that:
are not only aimed at senior citizens but at their relatives, civil society organisations, municipalities and health services as well, and can help slow the development of severe vision impairment in senior citizens through better and earlier detection, knowledge of risk factors and prevention.
can reduce the problem of vision impairment in the everyday activities of senior citizens, and promote integration and inclusion in social communities.
The preliminary identification of the area shows there is a severe lack of knowledge about senior citizens with impaired vision and their options, conditions and quality of life. VIVE has therefore mapped out the lives of and challenges posed by loss of sight in senior citizens, and produced an inspiration catalogue containing helpful advice for older people with age-related eye diseases and their relatives.