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Diabetic group hears how clients learn coping skills from vision loss

by Bonnie Whitehead

CLIFFORD - Chairman George Van Ankum gave a welcome to a group of people interested in Seeing Beyond Vision Loss at the Diabetes information meeting held Oct. 13 at the Knox United Church here.

Guest speaker Jennifer Urosevic, regional supervisor of client services at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and program assistant Roland Schlosser shared an overview of the services available.

For 14 years, Urosevic has watched the growth of the not-for-profit organization and is proud of its new direction. This organization maintains a presence by offering monthly and bi-annual visits to communities.

Individual programs teach strategies so clients can remain independent in their homes. They offer hints to overcome everyday challenges and provide options and solutions for daily living.

Becoming a client offers a variety of benefits and the voice of experience. Technological advances have created a broader range of visual aids and internet support. Clients should report any change in their eyes to an eye care professional if detecting floaters, dark spots, or distorted and blurred vision.

If undetected, Diabetic retinopathy can advance to permanent vision loss.

The United Nations chose Oct. 13 as World Sight Day to promote awareness of preventable blindness and applauded the people in attendance for taking care of their health.

Nancy Dietrich of Harriston shared her array of visual aids that help her travel through her days. Since 1993, she has been considered legally blind and relies on the CNIB and the low vision clinic to assist her in her daily living.

She reads her the weekly paper, and aids with a large keyboard, Zoomtext on her computer, large dice, large playing cards, lighted magnifying glass, talking watch, talking clothing colour reader, talking alarm clock, talking bathroom scale, and her talking glucose metre and white cane are all a part of her world.

Dietrich and her travelling companion benefit from half price or free fares while travelling by air, train, or bus or attending theatre. She suggests it would be helpful if people identify themselves when they address a person of limited sight, so they do not have to guess who is speaking by their voice or shape of your body.

She loves to dance, listen to music, and said after a trip to the Brantford school for the deaf and blind, she could not imagine being deaf. She judges people by their personality and not their appearance.

Dorothy De Jong of Dundalk won the door prize of a Maytag Meals for Good Health cook book.

Shirley Murray was thanked for preparing the cheese, crackers, and grapes.

Van Ankum named each volunteer, grateful for their weeks and 35 years of commitment and enthusiasm to maintaining the Branch.

The meeting was sponsored by the North Perth - North Wellington Branch of the Canadian Diabetes Association located at 94 B Elora St. S. in Harriston. For more information, call 519-338-3181  or email

In other meeting business, reports were given regarding membership assistance programs, save-a-tape programs, and the coming soup and sandwich luncheon at the local Legion. Van Ankum made a plea for canvassers to help in Clifford to raise funds and awareness for the Diabetes Association.

Call Bonnie Whitehead at 519-327-8612 or the Diabetes Information Centre 519-338-3181 to canvass this year. The association always relies on canvassers, but could always benefit from more volunteers to walk a block for diabetes.


October 21, 2011


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