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European Expert Meeting on Ageing People with Visual Impairment
(April 2011, Netherlands)
The expert meeting was organised on the initiative of ICEVI Europe and under the support of Royal Dutch Visio. In general this meeting was devoted to the theme “ageing people” that will be one of the themes of the Global ICEVI-Europe Conference 2013 in Istanbul.
The meeting was attended by about 20 European key persons from service providing organisations. All participants presented different practices and services, methods and approaches, projects and programmes that could be applied in practice. It was a great meeting of experts from different countries - in one saying –
a good quality of life and social inclusion of ageing people.
After the meeting we asked Tatjana Gorash - the expert from Moldova about how much this sharing will be useful for her work in Moldova.
The Feedback from Moldova: Necessary actions which are needed to be taken in order to improve the situation of older people with visual impairments in the Republic of Moldova.
Participation at the International Expert Meeting represents a true experience and necessity for the Republic of Moldova. The good practices learned at the meeting can be applied in our country in order to improve the quality of living of people with visual impairments and especially of elderly people with visual disability who are at the moment in a very complicated situation.
Elderly people with visual impairments must confront many major problems in Moldova such as economic, social and the insufficiency of quality services. Our target group- older people with visual impairments are not taken into account as a group with special needs, but are included as socially vulnerable people. So these people have many unsolved difficulties being often socially excluded.
In order to improve the standard of living and also to improve the quality of the services for this group it is important to take the first steps to solve the multiple obstacles that they must confront. It is necessary to evaluate and monitor the implemented actions step by step.
In order for Republic of Moldova to enjoy the progress and improvement of the situation for this group of people, and progress gradually, we believe that currently it is appropriate to focus on these benchmarks.
- To have an individual approach to the living situation of each elderly person with visual impairment, to know and analyse the requirements of each person in order to find optimal solutions to improve their conditions of living.
- In recent years in Republic of Moldova no surveys or census of elderly people with visual impairments have been done. Therefore it would be beneficial to have 2-3 surveys with the support of the Moldavian Blind Union and of the local and central Associations for Protection on the different aspects of living and the de facto situation of elderly people with visual impairments. Based on the results obtained from the survey it will be possible to improve the quality of the provided services for this given group.
- Medical survey on the diagnosis, cause, blindness prevention.
- Survey on living conditions, housing that is obsolete, to track down lonely elderly people, on the sources of living, support from family, relatives.
- Professional assessment of their potential involvement in activities, local circles of interest, level of independence, socio-economic inclusion of these people.
- Monitoring the programme on respect for the blind elderly people’s rights, creating opportunities for development, improvement of the living conditions of older people with visual impairments.
It is necessary to undertake a census of people with visual impairments, as today we do not know the exact number of blind and visually impaired people that are in Moldova.
- It is essential to create better living conditions to ensure longevity in order to improve the level of survival of elderly people with visual impairments.
- At the moment Moldova has an increased number of ageing people thus it is necessary to focus on the quality of living of elderly people with visual impairments and to ensure their participation in the social life of Moldova.
- By improving the quality of medical services we can attain an important objective stipulated in the legislative documents and at the international convention, which is improvement of the quality of life. By obtaining this goal we will be able to ensure the longevity of elderly people with visual disabilities.
- So it is important to be connected to the national legislation of international standards and mechanisms that focus on people with visual impairments. Republic of Moldova have to make many changes to adjust to international standards and legislative requirements to ensure effective social inclusion and provision of adequate support for elderly people.
- Taking into account the peculiarities of age, it is recommended that we focus not on changing older people's skills and their way of living, but to create support services and assistance for them.
- To adopt the services of home care , to create opportunities for the individual employment of a social assistant and in case of necessity to be adapted to conditions in care homes for older people with visual impairments.
- To expand the potential of the regional organisations of the Blind People’s Society by creating regional Centres of therapy, of information and social rehabilitation.
- On a regional level, within the Centres designed for persons with visual impairments, to conduct various activities tailored to the interests and needs of older people with visual impairments. The involvement of older persons with visual impairments in various activities and meetings both at national and local levels depending on their interests and occupations, is very welcome.
- To ensure the minimum of care and avoid loneliness for these persons it is necessary to involve and mobilise the family, their relatives and the community.
- To carry out counseling and provide information both for older people and for their families.
- To raise awareness and inform people on the ageing phenomenon and the situation of elderly people with visual impairments.
- For the people who are working with our target group it is particularly necessary to conduct seminars on the characteristics and ways of working with older people with v.i..
- There is a great need to conduct training to increase the level of knowledge of professionals working with older people with visual impairments.
- In order to improve the quality of life of older people with v.i., it is absolutely necessary that the Moldova Blind Union specialists collaborate with government structures, local departments of social assistance, as well as with various NGO`s in the field both national and international.
Moldova Blind Union could make a substantial contribution to enhance the lives of elderly people who are visually impaired by direct involvement in the implementation of these measures mentioned above and by carrying out planned activities.
It is important that implementation of these actions be effective in one way or another for each person with visual impairments in Moldova.
Thanks, Tatjana, for the widely and open concept of the situation of elderly people with v.i in Moldova.
Representative of ICEVI-Europe on EE Countries
e-mail: lp at icevi-europe.org
Moldova Blind Union
e-mail: tatiana.gorash at gmail.com
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