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Best Practices Sharing

Date 26 april 2011


We are happy to present the results of the European Expert Meeting on Ageing People with Visual Impairment that was held at April 4-5 in Vught, the Netherlands.

The direct reason for this meeting was a request from ICEVI Europe to get the theme 'ageing people' more substantially on their conference agenda. Royal Dutch Visio supports this initiative and has organized the expert meeting.

All participants were welcomed by Hans Welling, chairman of ICEVI Europe. An introduction to the meeting [PDF 264 KB] was presented by Peter Verstraten.

The focus of this meeting was the sharing of best practices. Best Practices Sharing involves the capture, dissemination and sharing of a work method, process, or initiative to improve organizational effectiveness, service delivery and employee satisfaction. It has not been a scientific meeting but the focus was on methods, protocols, approaches and projects that are actually applied in practice.
One of the greatest benefits of membership of this group comes from sharing best practice. Naturally, this occurs through networking, but we also want to facilitate the sharing of best practice in other ways. E.g. through internet or by facilitating a community of practice on "aging people".

Best Practices

All presentations of the Expert Meeting have been converted to a best practice format, with the same labels.

Brailleliga / Ligue Braille - elderly people with VI

Keywords: Lifelong study, exhibition on technical aids, financial support for > 65 years

Target group: > 65 years

Short description:

  1. Lifelong learning: follow-up at least every 5 years.
  2. Every year a huge exhibition of all the existing technical aids with workshops for elderly people on specific topics: kitchen, health, daisy books. Workshops for professionals about elderly people with VI.
  3. Special financial support for elderly who are over age 65 and suffering vision loss.

Future plans:

New projects:

  1. Light Lab: counselling on light in combination with technical aids
  2. Day centre for elderly people with VI.

Combination of the purpose of the day centre and the existing services in the network of the Brailleliga.

Presenter: Mr. Roland Vrijdag, Brailleliga - Lique Braille, Belgium
read full presentation Brailleliga [PDF 89,2 KB]

Licht en Liefde - Solidarity in Sight, solidarité en vue

Keywords: cooperation with welfare organisation, expertise sharing

Target group: > 65 years

Short description:

Bruggen van welzijnseffectiviteit (Bridges of increase of welfare), aim: in cooperation with home services creating a care-service for elderly people with a visual impairment at home.

Nationaal Project Vlaamsseniorenoogpunt (national project Flemish seniors viewpoint) Keep the quality of life of 120 severely visually impaired and blind people older than 60, up to standard and increase the autonomy and self-sufficiency at home, in order to postpone or even avoid hospitalization in ROB/RVT and even make the return to an autonomous life possible.

Expertise sharing
Share the expertise so that the elderly people can live at home (through cooperation between different services).

An inquiry of the clients from Licht en Liefde and an inquiry of the employees from the cooperating organisations resulted in:

Presenter: Mrs. Chris Roeygens, Licht en Liefde, Belgium
read full presentation Licht en Liefde [PDF 183 KB]

Older people with a visual impairment - What do older people want? To manage life issues themselves!

Keywords: education of staff, homes for visual impairment people

Target group: > 65 years

Short description:

Elderly want to stay as independent as possible. In case of necessity of residential or day care facilities there are long waiting lists. Future elderly will have other/new wishes or request for support.

IBOS has an employee training for 10 days on specific VI themes. They train the staff of homes for visual impairment people.

Important: It's fixed content and maybe this is also a pitfall.

Another lessons learned:
Find staff with qualification not only on VI, but also on how to manage a difficult changing situation. Try to change the attitude of the staff to be more involved in the personal situation of the elderly and their activities in their life. Like reading on 92 years old.

Presenter: Mr. Peter Rodney, IBOS, Denmark
read full presentation Older people with a visual impairment [PDF 17,4 KB]

Services of the Mutualité Française Anjou-Mayenne

Keywords: services, additional impairments, low vision support at home

Target group: > 60
Elderly with visual impairments and/or hearing impairments and/or acquired brain injury.

Short description:

Many services for people with VI combined with services for hearing impairment (6 out of 10) or brain injury. Extensive teams with many different professions.
VI elderly have much higher risks for depression, falls, malnutrition.
Other 'Mutualities' have a different approach. This one is participating in many other networks and out of the 6 low vision clinics in France this is the only one who delivers services at the homes of VI elderly.

Presenters: Mr. John Harris & Mrs. Sylvie Ervé, Mutualité Française Anjou-Mayenne, France
johngharris@btopenworld.com & sylvie.erve@mfam49-53.fr
read full presentation Services of the Mutualité Française Anjou-Mayenne [PDF 1,49 MB]

CENTICH: centre of national expertise in technology of information and communication.

Keywords: information and communication technology

Target group: All ages

Short description:

CENTICH wants to promote autonomy:

They serve the whole gamma - children and adults. Not just limited to VI. Angers is the physical place where it will come together. The two other locations are Toulouse and Strasbourg.

CENTICH tasks:

Presenters: Mrs. Sylvie Ervé & Mr. John Harris, CENTICH, France
read full presentation CENTICH [PDF 37,9 KB]

SensAge: A Network of Networks, Associations and Organisations addressing the issues of enabling ageing people with sensory disabilities to take part in lifelong learning.

Keywords: European Union, Life long learning

Target group: > 60 years

Short description:

SensAge is being developed in response to:


  1. To reach a common understanding of what "ageing" means and its link with sensory disabilities, of the resulting main challenges (in practice, or in law or in policy making processes), and of potential interactions with other disabilities.
  2. To create a space for the gathering, exchange and dissemination of practices and materials in this field.
  3. To contribute to appropriate EU standards of support for lifelong learning for these beneficiaries, and to maximise the impact of the work through political lobbying at European and National Levels.
  4. To maximise on an ongoing basis, through all appropriate means of dissemination, the impact of the work of the Network at European and National levels.
  5. To establish the sustainability of the work of the Network after the completion of the period of EC funding.

Presenter: Mr. John Harris, Wales
read full presentation SensAge [PDF 206 KB]

SFZ-Vision Centre

Keywords: social counselling, generation supermarket, eccentric viewing training

Target group: > 65 years, but not every intervention is financed.

Short description:

The original focus was on employment but through time it shifted to elderly.
SFZ-Vision Centre provides several special services for elderly, such as:

In this centre they provide Eccentric Viewing training. The result for elderly is that they feel more self-confident in their mobility.

Future plans:

More services at home for seniors with VI.

Presenter: Mrs. Petra Oertel-Verweyen, SFZ Vision Centre, Germany
read full presentation SFZ [PDF 1,29 MB]

Concept and Evaluation Procedure of an Innovative Counseling Program for Visually Impaired Elders

Keywords: evaluation, psychosocial counseling, networking

Target group: > 59 years

Short description:


Development and evaluation of psychosocial counseling concept for visually impaired elderly beyond technical support.
Orchestration and amplification of segmented services with the help of this integrative concept.
Linkage to other programs for senior citizens in the municipality.


The counselor advises and accompanies VI elderly individually (basic counseling, 1) and is pivotal as link to other vision or senior specific services (network, 2). If more assistance is needed by the VI person optional services are planned (extension, 3).

Some preliminary outcomes

Especially single living very old persons opted for more counseling sessions.
Counseling sessions show tranquilization of the situation and the orientation function of the counselor.
There is a clear need for psychosocial interventions but VI elderly do not often ask for that support.

Future plans:

Integration of this concept into regular senior services in the municipality.

Not personally present at the Expert Meeting, but presented on behalf of:

Author: Mrs. Ines Himmelsbach, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
read full presentation Innovative Counseling Program [PDF 1,33 MB]

Rehabilitation service for elderly people with VI in Hungary

Keywords: eye health care, low vision services

Target group: > 65 years

Short description:

Overview of services in Hungary and especially of View Foundation

Rehabilitation for VI elderly:

Presenter: Mrs. Krisztina Kovács, View Foundation, Hungary
read NEW version of full presentation Rehabilitation service in Hungary [PDF 97,6 KB]

The Icelandic National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired, and Deafblind Services for the elderly

Keywords: statistics, services, retirement, screening process

Target group: > 67 years

Short description:

Cooperation with nursing homes: ( have contact with al the 75 houses.)

Future plans:

Presenter: Mrs. Huld Magnúsdóttir, MIDSTOD, Iceland huld@midstod.is
read full presentation Icelandic National Institute [PDF 812 KB]

NCBI, services to older people

Keywords: Key worker, peer support groups

Target group: > 60 years, majority of services users are 60+

Short description:

Future plans:


Presenter: Mrs. Bláithín Gallagher, NCBI, Ireland
read full presentation NCBI [PDF 2,6 MB]

The overall situation of elderly with VI in Moldova

Keywords: inclusion, socio-economic situation, voting

Target group: > 60 years

Short description:

Awareness raining campaigns to fight discrimination and increase participation.

Good practice in creating the conditions for participation in decision making through direct and secret vote, according to experiences in Romania.
First testing during a Congress of the Blind of Moldova in June 2010.
Then during a parliamentary election in November 2010, in one of the voting sectors.
From these experiences new options have been developed.

There is a national rehabilitation centre for people with VI since 5 years now in Moldova.

Presenter: Mrs. Tatiana Goraş, Moldavian Blind Union, Moldova
read full presentation Moldova [PDF 814 KB]

Activity of PAB for elderly people with VI

Keywords: typhlo-gerontology

Target group: > 60 years

Short description:

Many activities in the last 25 years:
National training course for elderly and subsequent workshops.
Rehabilitation workshop for elderly with VI.
Several publications, brochures and leaflets regarding elderly VI persons.
Training courses for experts working with elderly in PAB units.
Activation programmes for local and regional use.

Workshops "Meeting of Generations".
Senior citizens' clubs.
Lectures, workshops and other activities together with a Third Age Academy.

Future plans:

Continuation of training courses and workshops.
Further cooperation with Third Age Universities
Establishing day social aid houses and family centres.
Lobby for beneficial legal regulations for elderly VI people.
Prepare and distribute PAB offer, outlining standards of services.

Not personally present at the Expert Meeting, but presented on behalf of:

Author: Mrs. Elżbieta Oleksiak, Polish Association of the Blind, Poland
read full presentation PAB [PDF 863 KB]

Elderly VI people profile in Russia

Keywords: Quality of life, social programmes, physical health

Target group: Elderly VI profile in Russia

Average life expectancy is not high in RF: for women 73 years; for men 58 years.
According to the WHO classification, old age starts from 65 years, this is due to the fact that in most developed countries the retirement age established in this period. The retirement age in RF: for men 60 years, for women 55 years.

Short description:

Three best practices (social programmes for elderly in general)

Annual forum and exhibition of innovative technologies for the elderly.

In 2010, in St. Petersburg hosted I-st International Forum - an exhibition of innovative technologies for the elderly and people with special social status.
The main objectives of the forum: familiarize the elderly and people with special social status with the possibilities of modern information technologies that are innovative for them now. The Forum will have an annual format.

Free training computer literacy: "Grandma Online" - "Grandpa-online"

Since 2008, established and approved by the Russian government the social program: "Grandma Online " - "Grandpa-online": free training computer literacy and information technologies for elderly people. Special classes are opened in public organizations, libraries, counseling centers, charitable organizations.

Clubs for Elderly in libraries

"Libraries - for the elder generation" Under the roof of libraries are opened 'Clubs of Elder Persons"

Future plans:

Presenter: Mrs. Liliya Plastunova, Resource Center "Low Vision", St. Petersburg, Russia
read full presentation Russia [PDF 238 KB]

Supporting visually impaired people - UK

Keywords: Comorbidity, dementia, dual sensory loss, neurological vision loss

Target group: older people

Short description:

Older people are more likely to have a comorbid condition including vision loss. Therefore cooperation with others is a necessity. Examples are given concerning dementia, emotional support and care homes.

Good practice example with dementia. Aims: explore current care pathways, awareness raising, development of training programmes and joint planning of future services. One of the results is the development of a 'Low Vision Care Management Passport'.

Good practice example on dual sensory loss. Combined assessment of visual and hearing functions and of quality of life. 74% had deficits in hearing and vision together.

Good practice example on neurological vision loss. Use of an assessment and training programme developed by Neuro Vision Technology (Australia) with several benefits for all involved (patients, carers, partners, professionals).

Future plans:

Assessment screening regarding vision loss and dementia.
Further cooperation regarding dual sensory loss in an umbrella construction.
Further cooperation with stroke professionals.

Presenter: Mr. Alan Suttie, Fife Society for the Blind, Scotland / RNIB, UK
read full presentation [PDF 2,1 KB]

Slovak Blind and Partially Sighted Union

Keywords: services, legislation

Target group: 70% of the clients are of senior age and can get service from the union

Short description:

Services, Programmes and Activities for Elderly People with Visual Impairment.

Every year a Christmas holiday is organized for lonely elderly people.

Several activities organized by members themselves (dependent on members activity in each region)

Future plans:

Development of self-advocacy among visually impaired
Internal grant programm
For local organizations

Presenters: Mr. Branislav Mamojka & Mr. Marián Horanič, UNSS, Slovakia
branislav.mamojka@unss.sk & horanic@unss.sk
read full presentation Slovak Blind Union [PDF 72,4 KB]

SEEnior: a New Scandinavian Vision Enabling Project for AMD Participants


Visual performance in dry AMD, training materials

Target group: The Scandinavian countries have 20 million inhabitants and low vision (LV) service programs at approximately 70 LV centres with more than 500 professionals serving persons with LV. The average patient is a 75 years old woman with macula degeneration (AMD).

Short description:


Developing new tools and methods for different levels of visual performance in dry AMD, (mostly age group 80+). In each level of the progressive disease the project presents pathways of assessment, training and mental comfort and awareness with individual variations. The material presented is published three languages. Persons with AMD will be more able to adjust to shorter working distance and using magnification step by step both at various distance.

Project SEEnior had its start up in December 2007. The first phase was an inventory period, where current ideas and methods used are investigated. In the next phase a range of tests and training materials are being developed - optical, non-optical and pre-optical methods in a close cooperation between Norwegian, Swedish and Danish LV therapists and optometrist. Production of material took in 2008 and a number of Scandinavian seminars were held in 2009.


From this strategy a wider and longitudinal EU financed study and project will be initiated. This work will evaluate and further develop the approach and the value of training with methods used in optometry and education today for patients with AMD.
It is a wish to continue this study on a broader European level.

Presenter: Mr. Krister Inde, Sweden
read full presentation SEEnior [PDF 14 MB]

Good Practices Visio

Keywords: ageing with MDVI, loneliness, Charles Bonnet Syndrome, screening, network

Target group: > 65 years, MDVI > 40.

Short description:

The 'Ageing and MDVI'-project concerns four topics: 1) a training programme, 2) development op protocols for practice, 3) adaptations of the physical environment, and 4) support of the social network.

In the 'Loneliness'-project a training programme for visually impaired older adults has been developed and an accompanying workshop for professionals.

Concerning the Charles Bonnet Syndrome information material for professionals and clients had been developed and possibilities for individual support and a group approach have been presented.

The 'Eye for the Elderly'- project concerns: 1) building a local network, 2) implementation of vision screening in homes for the elderly, and 3) transfer of Visio expertise by: 1) training of staff, 2) accessibility advice, and 3) individual rehabilitation.

Future plans:

A new project has started on implementation of dementia assessment for MDVI clients. The 'Eye for the Elderly' manual will be used for setting up new local networks and screening programmes in the future.

Presenter: Mr. Peter Verstraten, Visio, the Netherlands
read full presentation Visio [PDF 1,23 KB]

e-Vision 55 plus

Keywords: internet, information on age-related sight loss

Target group: > 65 years

Short description:

In one of the ENVITER projects a free accessible website called My Vision has been developed for people with age-related sight loss, with 1) information on the ageing eye, importance of light and optical devices, 2) advice on contact and communication, individual adaptations and aids, psychosocial functioning, 3) computer use: helpful Windows settings, using screen magnifiers and screen readers, and 4) use of internet: social communication, shopping and banking, e-government and tax return.

Future plans:

ENVITER will continue European projects, including some specifically related to ageing people.

Presenter: Mr. Peter Verstraten, Enviter, Europe
read full presentation Enviter [PDF 1,41 MB]

Best Practices Sharing
Date 26 april 2011

Ontwikkeling & Innovatie
Amersfoortsestraatweg 180
1272 RR Huizen

Koninklijke Visio
expertisecentrum voor slechtziende en blinde mensen

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