Last month, Andrew Lyons, VisAbility’s Manager, Gateway Services, sat down with cheerful nonagenarian and client Lorene Bruce for a chat. She spoke to Andrew about her joys in life, why getting to do what you love is so important, and her transition towards accessing VisAbility services under My Aged Care funding. This is her story.
“Today is a special day. It happens to be client Lorene Bruce’s 96th birthday. This lady, who is sitting opposite me in my office, exudes fierce independence and confidence. Lorene has just attended a celebration in the Activity Centre to mark her birthday and is clearly excited.
Lorene talks about her childhood and how she had to milk nine cows each day before school, and then ride to school on her horse.
She speaks with pride about her family, especially her husband Jimmy, a well-respected marine surveyor. Lorene also beams with pride when talking about her granddaughter Courtney, who represents Australia in Netball and won silver at the recent 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Lorene goes on to tell me a little bit more about why she came to access our services. It was 1981 when Lorene was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma. Lorene, choosing empowerment over despair, refused to let her vision impairment stop her from living her life. She found the VisAbility community and now accesses a range of services, and has found particular enjoyment from our Community Activity Centre.
“I love coming in and working on my knitting and pottery. I am currently working on a barramundi fish sculpture and cannot wait to see the end result!”
Lorene also accesses VisAbility’s Assistive Technology Service and after an assessment, was provided with a video magnifier. “I attended an appointment to see what tools were available to assist me with reading. I was shown a fantastic device called a video magnifier and I am now able to read my mail and look at photographs.”
“I would strongly recommend anyone with a disability, not just vision impairment, to get in touch with VisAbility. The staff I have encountered are caring, knowledgeable and empowering. The aids and advice I have obtained help me so much, you have no idea.”
Lorene, like many people over 65, will soon embark on obtaining a My Aged Care package. My Aged Care (link opens in new window) is a government initiative designed to help people access support in their home and daily life, a bit like the NDIS but for over 65s.
I thank Lorene for agreeing to spend some time with me on her birthday. I joke with her and tell her she doesn’t look a day over 70. Lorene touches my hand and tells me, “I thank VisAbility for having faith in its clients.”
If like Lorene, you are over 65 and accessing services from a disability provider, you may be eligible to receive either individual services or a tailored package of services under this funding.
If you are currently accessing services from us, it is also important to note that these will now need to be included in your funding package in order to continue accessing them.
How to get support
Please complete the form below to make an initial enquiry about the low vision services and support we can provide. Our Client Experience Team will contact you to discuss your individual needs both now and into the future.
There are a number of low vision support groups within Perth and across the state.
If you are a provider and wish to refer a client, please use our low vision medical certificate (online referral form) to make your referral.