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Loss, Grief and Health

By Laurel Lanner | Posted: Tuesday September 5, 2017

Last week, the Year 12 Religious Education classes were visited by two Occupational Therapy students and were treated to an interactive lesson on issues to do with low-vision and aging. 

Their lesson fitted into our topic of ‘Loss, Grief, Death and Dying’.  This topic is the only one at Year 12 that is not assessed by NZQA standards but we think it is an important topic to cover. 

The students were first asked to download an app that allowed them to find out information about different types of vision impairment, but it also allowed the students to experience a simulation of the type of vision loss that resulted. The students were then asked to volunteer to wear equipment that would give them an approximate experience of old age. Two strapping boys from my class donned heavy vests, wrist and ankle weights, elbow splints, thick shoes, goggles and earmuffs. The result was marked. They walked around the classroom bumping into things and struggling with balance. I heard students comment, ‘I don’t want to get old’.

Of course, for 16 or 17 year olds, old age is a long way off and doesn’t seem very real, but it was a way of getting them to appreciate that grief and loss are not always connected to death. For some, physical disabilities are already an issue for themselves or their families, and these may not be obvious to observers. For others, it was a reminder and an acknowledgement that it is alright to feel shocked, angry or depressed about things that happen to them and it is something that we all face in different ways over our lifetimes. The message is that we are a resilient lot and especially with the help and support of each other and our faith, the difficult times won’t disappear, but they are surmountable.

If you want to find out about diseases of the eye download VisionSim from the App Store.