In January 2020, IN-SIGHT’s client outreach coordinator, Doreen Holmes, had an idea for a new support group.
IN-SIGHT has offered monthly community-based support groups around the state for more than three decades. Hosted in local senior centers, these meetings generally have a set topic and include a presentation and focused discussions of topics related to vision.
Based on client feedback, Doreen wanted to create an open topic group where the participants could bring up what was on the minds at that time. There was one caveat though. Doreen was intent on not letting the group degenerate into a “woe is me” complaint fest. Every meeting ends with a positive message and suggested solutions to the problems that the group members are dealing with.
“No matter how stressed out you are, at the end of the meeting you will feel better.”– A Positive Outlook Participant
A small inaugural group came together at the beginning of 2020 to begin meeting in person. The meetings were well attended, and the participants indicated that they enjoyed the conversations.
Then COVID hit. With in-person activities no longer possible due to health restrictions, the group eventually moved to virtual meetings via video conference and phone. Knowing that people were starting to feel more isolated, Doreen moved the meetings to once per week to keep everyone connected. The average attendance at the meetings grew to almost thirty people, necessitating breaking the group into two separate meetings so that everyone had a chance to participate.
With COVID waning, a few months ago the Positive Outlook groups moved back to meeting virtually just once per month. With restrictions now largely lifted, the meetings will be returning to in-person this summer.
We recently asked the participants their feelings about the group, and the results were very encouraging:
- 100% of the participants agreed that attending the Positive Outlook meetings has made them feel less isolated.
- 90% agreed that the meetings helped them to better cope with being visually impaired.
- 71% indicated that the group improved their overall well-being.
- 62% have experienced a boost in their confidence.
- 62% say that group has made coping with day-to-day challenges easier.
One participant indicated that the group has been a “life saver” during such a turbulent time. Another said, “no matter how stressed out you are, at the end of the meeting you feel better.”
For more information about Positive Outlook, contact Doreen Holmes at (401) 941-3322.