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Creativity Counts

in Be Empowered, Latest News, Stories of Independence
Image of an elderly woman sitting in her lounge room with pages from her thesis
91 year old Joan Webb from Launceston has just completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Education

For Launceston woman Joan Webb education is the key to a long healthy life. Joan has age related macular degeneration in both eyes, the principal cause for legal blindness in 50% of Australians. Treatment can help, however the condition can’t be cured.

Not to let obstacles stand in her way, at 91 Joan just completed a Doctor of Philosophy (Education). There is a twinkle in her eyes as Joan recaps on her thesis ‘I only look forward to Mondays’. With her sight diminishing, the independent academic continues to encourage those as she refers to as ‘frail aged’ to stay creatively active.

Frail aged are those who cannot take care of themselves independently. To keep a sharp mind is to maintain independence with a higher quality of life. ‘Education from the birth to the grave, Joan believes. Her research aims to keep people being creative, sharing views and feelings regardless of age through poetry and prose. ‘Even if you are wheel chair bound and can’t use your hands you can still share thoughts and ideas.­ I discovered so much! It showed me it was an outlet for depression and how incredibly creative people can be, even in their last years of their lives.

Low vision services can aid to make the most of any remaining sight and with the help of VisAbility, Joan is able to continue to do what she loves. Our Assistive Technology Officer updated Joan’s computer. The installation of speech to text, helps her write her notes, a larger monitor and an improved lighting system enables Joan to read books, emails and papers more easily assisting her in everyday life.

If you need assistance or know someone who does contact us 1800 484 333 Tasmania or 1800 847 466 in Western Australia.