Social Services – all you need to know

As a social services professional, you play a key role in helping a person who’s blind or has low vision come to terms with their sight loss and continue to live their life.

You might be a rest home nurse, residential care worker, or otherwise involved in working with someone who’s blind or has low vision.

If you think a person in your care could benefit from Blind Low Vision NZ assistance, please contact their ophthalmologist, optometrist or GP. Their health professional will be able to assess them and potentially refer them to Blind Low Vision NZ.

Key to providing a great experience is ensuring the information in your centre is easy to read. You might have important information in weekly newsletters, posters, brochures or on your website.  By making it accessible people with sight loss can read it along with everyone else.

If your building is accessible, it’s so much easier for someone who’s blind or has low vision to move around.

You and your staff can also assist by greeting and guiding in the right way.  There are so many ways you and your team can make life easier for a person who’s blind or has low vision.  Some simple tips are:

  • At mealtimes, explain what’s on the person’s plate, moving in a clockwise direction around the plate from the top.  And explain where their glass or cup is in relation to their plate.  You can use a clock face analogy to help – eg ‘your peas are at 7 o’clock.
  • At mealtimes and on social occasions, ask everyone at the table or in the room to say who they are (and if they leave, ask them to say they are leaving).
  • When providing medicine, tablets or any medical assistance, explain how you will be doing this step by step.

You might find a guide to living with low vision useful. This was written by a person who has low vision, so it’s got the perspective of someone with lived experience.

You might also be interested in the statistics.