Big Dog delivers message to Central West
Big dog to deliver giant message to Central West seniors losing their vision
As the prevalence of vision loss trebles with each decade over the age 40 , Gulliver the Big Guide Dog is touring the Central West this week, being Seniors Week, to remind local seniors to seek help early if failing sight is causing them problems getting around.
The big dog, supported by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's local team of Orientation and Mobility experts, will stop in Orange today and Cowra and Grenfell tomorrow to spread the message.
"Cataracts, macular degeneration or glaucoma are common age-related eye conditions that can have a significant impact on a person's confidence and ability to move around on their own," said Sophie Hogan, an Orientation and Mobility Instructor for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, who is based in Orange.
"Understandably, some people with vision loss won't ask for help until they've had a fall or another kind of accident.
"We hope our big dog's tour of the region might encourage people to seek our free, local assistance before this happens. With the right training, which might include learning how to use a long cane, support cane or a Guide Dog, people can re-gain their confidence and independence and get back to living the life they want."
While the big dog represents the Guide Dog services that Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is well-known for, the organisation specialises in delivering innovative, tailored programs to meet individual mobility needs.
"We provide people with practical solutions for moving through their communities safely and confidently," added Sophie. "This might involve training someone in the skills and strategies for safe road crossings, catching public transport, or using technology aids like talking GPS navigational software."
The tour also marks five years since Gulliver was launched and first visited the Central West as part of an ongoing community awareness campaign to highlight Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's work. Since then, the big dog has travelled almost 50,000 kilometres, visiting over 50 towns and cities across the Eastern seaboard.
If you or someone you know is finding it hard to get around because of vision loss, please call Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in Orange on 6362 6625 or visit one of our websites for more information about different vision conditions and service providers.