Despite vision problems, Hays woman stays active with the help of family and friends



By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

Joy Glick often has a hard time making out what's showing on her 50-inch flat screen television, even when she is sitting just a few feet away.

That doesn't seem to bother Glick, though, because she's usually too busy to watch TV anyway.

"My girls say I have a fuller calendar than them," said the 90-year-old Glick, who suffers from macular degeneration and is legally blind. "Oh, dear, it seems like I'm always gone."

One of those girls to which Glick is referring is her youngest daughter, also named Joy Glick, who lives with her mother in her Hays home.

"I would be in assisted living if it weren't for her," said the elder Joy Glick, who can see well enough to get around.

Macular degeneration causes a loss of vision in the center of the eye because of damage to the retina and makes it difficult to read or recognize faces but enough peripheral vision usually remains to be able to do daily activities.

That's the case with Glick, and she and her daughter get along quite well with their arrangement.

Joy M. Glick, the daughter, is headquartered in the basement of the three-bedroom home her parents bought when they moved to Hays in 1985. She works at Hays Medical Center and gives her mom a ride to the Senior Center in Hays on her way to work at about 10:15 a.m.

Joy K. Glick, the mother, spends several hours each day at the center, eating lunch and playing pinochle with her buddies using jumbo cards, then catches a ride home on the Access Van with a local transportation service for disabled people.

"We get along great; Joy and I both like to go places," said Joy K. Glick, who has another favorite companion, a miniature poodle named Toby.

"People tell me he's spoiled," she said with a smile. "I guess maybe he is, but he's great company."

Glick was diagnosed with macular degeneration when she was in her mid-60s but she and her husband, Fred, continued to travel anyway until about 2000, when health issues grounded Fred, who died from complications of cancer in 2005.

They visited every state but Alaska, and Glick has traveled abroad as well, including three different trips to Scotland.

While she doesn't make a lot of long trips anymore, Glick still is active and gets around town quite well.

"I can get around, but I have to be careful," she said. "People are really good about taking my arm."

She didn't need any help during the weekend, handing out candy at Historic Fort Hays' annual Christmas Past activities at the fort.

"I'm lucky," she said. "I have no pain, and I can still walk."

In fact, Glick still puts in 2 miles a day on her treadmill four or five days a week.

"I've always liked to walk," she said. "It's good for you."

So is companionship.

"I have a lot of friends," she said. "I'm really thankful for all the help my friends give me."

Glick is able to read with a closed circuit television set that enlarges print to a larger size, and she has a program on her computer that enlarges print as well.

Good thing, because she gets disgusted with some of the shows on TV, especially soap operas.

"I'd never really watched soap operas but got interested in one once," she said. "But they really griped me because when they want to get rid of an actress, they just kill her off. So I thought, 'I don't have time for that.' "