John Percival, Julienne Hanson; ‘I’m Like a Tree a Million Miles from the Water’s Edge’: Social Care and Inclusion of Older People with Visual Impairment. Br J Soc Work 2005; 35 (2): 189-205. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bch178
The care and support of older people with visual impairment is a neglected public-policy issue, despite the growing numbers affected by sight loss in later life. A recently completed study of four hundred people aged over fifty-five has gathered data about experiences of sight loss, coping strategies, support needs, home environments, social contacts and information needs. This paper reports on a prominent concern arising from research—the connection between unmet social-care needs and social exclusion. Discussion focuses on identifying and assessing needs, major problems and priorities raised by interviewees, and service initiatives that promote inclusive social care. Conclusions are reached that social workers and other allied professionals can best promote socially inclusive support through inter-agency co-operation, and practical suggestions are presented as to the possible shape and direction of collaborative work.