The Low Vision Book Club: One of Park Springs’ Many Member-Driven Programs

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DSC06625Mrs. Alice Young moved to Park Springs in 2006 as one of the first residents in the 4000 Building. Before too long, the former Dean of Student Services at Georgia State University decided that Members at Park Springs would benefit from and enjoy a Low Vision Book Club, as well as an educational forum, Senior Scholars – so she started both clubs!

Mrs. Young, an effervescent and outgoing 90-year old (she just celebrated this major milestone with 100 of her closest friends), noted that there is a great variety of activities available to Members at Park Springs.

“You should look at it as a cafeteria line: at Park Springs there are so many choices to be active and involved, and to have fun and make new friends!” she says. “You don’t have to pile everything on your plate, but you can definitely find some clubs and activities that really suit you or that you would like to try.”

Currently, the Low Vision Book Club, coordinated by Mrs. Young since 2007, has 15 members. They meet once per month and review and discuss the book they have recently finished, including fiction and non-fiction such as histories, biographies or memoirs.

Most Low Vision Book Club members use Talking Books, the free library service available to U.S. residents whose low vision, blindness, or physical handicap makes it difficult to read a standard printed page. Local cooperating libraries throughout the United States mail National Library Services audiobooks, magazines, and audio equipment directly to enrollees at no cost. The Low Vision Book club at Park Springs gets its tapes from the Atlanta Metro Library for Accessible Services (One Mitchell Square, Atlanta, GA 30303).

“Even though this is a book club, it is so much more. Here, we support and encourage each other and share information about dealing with diminished vision. We’ve all become good friends,” notes Mrs. Young, who acts as the book club’s facilitator.

“Park Springs has also welcomed the Center for The Visually Impaired once or twice per year to host a six-week long class for a maximum of eight newly blind or visually impaired persons,” mentions Mrs. Young, who has benefited from one of these sessions. “During these classes, participants learn coping strategies and get practical tips, like how to thread a needle using a bar of soap. They also learn about technology and other tools such as talking watches that are available at the CVI Store in downtown Atlanta.

“Losing your vision is not fun,” says Mrs. Young. “But you always have to think, ‘What CAN I do now?’”

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