Europe’s Cities Not so friendly for the elderly visually impaired

PRESS RELEASE                                                                   
Brussels, 26th March 2014

Europe’s Cities

Not so friendly for the elderly visually impaired


Although there is growing awareness of the dramatic increase across Europe of those over the age of 65 there is still widespread failure to acknowledge the significant growth in age related sight loss. In simple terms, prevalence of serious sight loss increases with age from 3.27% age 60 to 69 years up to 15% between 80 and 89 years. Whilst work has been carried out on access issues for blind and partially sighted people, nothing has been done before which links together the specific needs of older people with those having a serious sight loss.

A partnership project between the European Blind Union and the European Guide Dog Federation with additional collaborative support and assistance from Age Platform Europe has produced a report entitled A Tale of Three Cities. This looks at the experiences of a cross section of blind and partially sighted elderly people in three European cities, Tullamore in Ireland, Salzburg in Austria and Marseille in France. The report uses specific criteria to examine the experiences of older people in adapting to poor vision whilst endeavouring to continue accessing the communities in which they live.

The conclusions of this project provide evidence that will help to improve the lives of older blind and partially sighted people throughout Europe. The document also provides a toolkit which can be used both by agencies working with older people and those specifically supporting people with a serious sight loss. This is the first document of its kind dealing with age-related sight loss and provides vital evidence to encourage all countries to improve the age friendliness of environments, taking on board the needs of persons with visual impairments.

The report is available in pdf and doc formats on the EBU website and on the AGE website. Braille and audio formats are also available from Alan Suttie (details at the end of this press release).


For more information, please contact:

AGE Platform Europe 
Contact: Julia Wadoux - Tel: +32 2 280 14 70 -

European Blind Union (EBU)
Contact: Alan Suttie - Tel: +44 (0) 159 264 4979 -

European Guide Dog Federation (EGDF)
Contact: David Adams - Tel: +44 (0) 843 289 3664 -



Link to this press release in PDF format



Thursday 27 March 2014
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