Someone You Should Know: Bonnie Tibbetts holds vision classes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Someone You Should Know: Bonnie Tibbetts holds vision classes

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89-year-old Bonnie Tibbetts lives at Friendship Village in Waterloo. Fresh flowers and family pictures decorate Tibbetts' apartment, along with artwork hanging from the walls.

However, Tibbetts can't see such decorations like others might.

"It's difficult to tell what's usable vision and what's actual," Tibbetts said.

She had cataracts when she was a year and a half old; then, after her operation, Tibbetts contracted the measles. So doctors don't exactly know how she ended up with her degree of vision.

Tibbetts is blind in her left eye, and has partial vision in her right eye. She explains she can see some colors with blurry sight out of her right eye. But Tibbetts doesn't let the circumstances hinder her life.

"I go pretty much every place on my own," she said. "I don't know, I think a lot of it is the independence I've learned."

Tibbetts loves to bake, especially homemade fudge and cookies around the holidays, and reads cookbooks using Braille.

To assist with other everyday tasks, she has several devices to aid those processes; one being a reading aid.

Tibbetts uses a device that enlarges words on a page when sifting through books or magazines. She also has a digital player that reads books aloud from cassette tapes.

Tibbetts also has Chi by her side, her leader dog of about five years. Whether she's browsing the grocery aisles or out shopping for something new, Chi can be there for extra help.

When Tibbetts came to the area, she noticed people with similar vision not realizing how many aides are available to them. So she holds monthly classes for anyone without eye sight, or losing their vision.

She brings in guest speakers, shows the latest equipment and provides support for those going through the life transition.

Lenora Decker lives across the hall from Tibbetts at Friendship Village, with a similar vision problem.

"She really goes to bat for us. She understands the things we need in our lives to make it less complicated,"  Decker said.

Tibbetts said everyone that needs help should have a chance to receive that help.

Her coaching classes resume in September, and are held the second Wednesday of every month at 2 p.m. at Friendship Village in Waterloo.

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