Last week the Freedom Waters Foundation sponsored a cruise on a 93-foot yacht with twenty-five Lighthouse clients and family members. Due to COVID-19, this was the first group outing in well over a year. People were ready to get out and socialize! Old friends had time to catch up and new friendships were made.
The following are just a few examples of the connections made: two former pilots who were forced to give up flying due to vision loss were introduced; two individuals who share a rare syndrome which causes severe hearing and vision loss connected; two folks with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), met who coincidentally lived in the same building; three working-age adults were able to share their frustrations of trying to find work and also shared advice in navigating vocational rehabilitation services; one out-of-state client who had only attended the support groups via Zoom, was finally able to meet many of his fellow support group members; and two Lighthouse friends were able to “see” each other in person after barely venturing out of the house in nearly 15 months. Equally important, several spouses met and shared their experiences of having a visually impaired spouse.
Adjusting to vision loss is a journey. Meeting others who really get what life is like with vision loss can be immensely comforting. By collaborating, clients are able to more quickly adjust to vision loss. They share strategies and solutions to help regain the independence and confidence once lost by vision impairment.