Habilitation and rehabilitation services are crucial core elements in the process of enabling blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people to live independently in and participate fully actively in society.
Whether it is someone who is born blind or looses their sight in later life, they all have differing needs. The youngster has to be taught how to grow and develop in a fully sighted world. Whereas someone with sight and loosing it in middle or later life, has entirely different requirements, however, they all have one basic need i.e. the skills and ability to safely make themselves a hot drink or meal in their own home; to do this task, they need mobility skills to enable them to go out and purchase the necessary provisions. Can you imagine how daunting it is doing all these basic tasks without sight? Well, the answer is it’s impossible without the proper training. Whereas, given the appropriate training, the answer is quite simply millions of people do it every day.
Currently across the UK there is a patchwork, postcode lottery of services being provided to us, which is unacceptable and we need to have an equitable level and standard of service and training across the UK. To achieve this, we need a range of fully qualified and suitably trained rehabilitation officers in every local authority area. Additionally, the appropriate relevant “ringed fenced” finance to employ these officers and fund the service must be provided by central and local Government to bring a resolution to this Cinderella situation.
The size of the problem is set to increase with changes in demographics. 80% of all blind and partially sighted people are aged 60 and over. One in 12 of us will become blind or partially sighted by the time we are 60. This rises to one in five by the time we reach 75. You or a family member could be one of those so affected. There is no time to lose, act today – don’t delay!
NFBUK works with organisations of and for blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people, along with all relevant habilitation and rehabilitation organisations and bodies and central government and local authorities, to address this issue and bring around improvements to the life of all blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people in the UK.
For further information or comment, please contact either:
Andrew Hodgson, President, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or Douglas Gilroy by email: email@example.com