KEARNEY — A local organization that helps individuals cope with vision loss will be moving its monthly meetings in January.

For several years the Kearney Chapter of the Nebraska VIPS (Visually Impaired Peer Support) group met at Brookdale Northridge in northwest Kearney.

Beginning in January, Kearney VIPS will meet in the Elaine Wiseman Pavilion at Kearney Manor, 2715 Ave. I. Meetings are 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday each month.

Dave Johnson, president of Nebraska VIPS, said his organization is grateful to Brookdale Northridge for allowing the meetings. He said moving to Kearney Manor is intended to make the meetings more accessible. Johnson, who is blind, said that for people with vision impairment there is a lot to gain networking with others coping with sight loss.

“Members share ideas that have helped them as their vision has decreased,” Johnson said. “Useful tools such as large print books, bump dots, talking instruments, magnification devices, guides for writing checks and letters and addressing envelopes and signature guides also have been shared to help in everyday tasks. These devices help keep people independent in their own homes.”

Shopping is easier because of apps for smartphones and devices that can read the denominations of paper currency.

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Johnson and Judy Beck, who also has significant sight loss, said it can be overwhelming to hear a doctor say you will lose your vision. For that reason, the Kearney Chapter of VIPS can provide the support and experience that is so important when learning how to adapt to vision loss, they said.

In addition to peer support, VIPS meetings frequently feature speakers who cover topics of interest, including eye diseases, new medical treatments and preventive measures.

VIPS members also have access to digital talking books and Newsline for the blind that helps inform them about local and national news.

Johnson is available at 308-468-6260 or 308-468-7391 with more information about VIPS. He said VIPS will cover transportation costs to the meetings for individuals who need assistance.

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