26 March 2020
Source: Macular Society
Leading sight loss charity the Macular Society has introduced a range of new telephone and online services to continue supporting people with macular disease in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The charity has suspended all of its face-to-face services, including the meetings of its peer support groups throughout the UK, to protect members, volunteers and people using its services as much as possible.
Instead, the Society is urging people to call in to its new telephone conference support groups. The groups will be run by the charity’s regional managers and are open to anyone with macular disease, their families or friends.
Cathy Yelf, Macular Society chief executive, said: “In an unprecedented situation like this, health and wellbeing must always come first. However, it’s absolutely vital that everyone who needs our support continues to receive it. Although our face-to-face services have had to be suspended for the time being, we are still on the end of the phone and would strongly urge anyone to call us if they do need our assistance.
“The telephone groups will offer help in understanding macular disease and coming to terms with sight loss; exactly the way that our face-to-face support groups do. They will also help us to ensure that everyone is kept up to date with all the current news and information. But most importantly, they will allow people with macular disease to continue to take part in social activities, helping to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation during these difficult times.”
In addition, all of the charity’s regional managers have set up individual social media accounts, allowing members to contact the regional manager for their area via Facebook or Twitter. The Society has also recruited more than 20 new volunteer telephone befrienders, who offer a friendly listening ear to people affected by macular disease.
Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK. Nearly 1.5 million people are currently affected and many more are at risk. The disease can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, leaving them unable to drive, read or see faces. Many people affected describe losing their sight as being similar to bereavement. There is still no cure and most types of the disease are not treatable. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of macular disease, affecting more than 600,000 people, usually over the age of 50.
For more information on telephone conference support groups and other services currently available from the Macular Society, please call the charity’s Advice and Information Service on 0300 3030 111 or email email@example.com