New service helps people losing vision maintain independence - KCTV5

New service helps people losing vision maintain independence

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A growing number of people are having to care for their aging parents, and now some help could be on the way. The idea is to help the people who are trying to help them.

Support for the blind with support from federal funds is a free service that Alphapointe Association for the Blind is hoping to extend to more people in the community.

"I know where everything is in my house," said 73-year-old Alberta Frye, who relies on her feelings.

Her hands make up for what her eyes can't show her anymore.  Glaucoma has clouded her vision for the past 20 years.

"The left eye I don't have any sight," Frye said.

Sight in her right eye is slowly deteriorating.  She now only sees shadows.  But she isn't letting her eyes stand in the way of living in her own home.  And a federal grant is helping her stay independent.

The Alphapointe Association for the Blind in the Kansas City area and four other programs in the state will split $1.2 million over three years.  The funds help keep services for the blind free, services like home-based training for independent living skills.

"We anticipate about 200 clients we served in the last year nearly 25 percent of those were on the verge of going to nursing home kind of care and were able to maintain living independently in their own homes," program director Clay Berry said.

An occupational therapist works with Frye once a week to assist her to do things on her own.

"I had one therapist that taught me how to use the cane and I was able to go to the mailbox and trash can," she said.

Her therapist is also showing her how to use technology that reads for her and pays her bills.

"Before I got them, I was feeling I couldn't do the things that I do now," she said.

If you are worried a loved one may have a tough time getting around because of their vision, Alphapointe does free low vision evaluations and will help get you set up with a program that's right for you.

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