Jane Elliott loves hot glazed donuts and helping people who are losing their vision adapt to a new normal.

Since 1993 she has been out in the community, working as a Vision Rehabilitation Specialist and Orientation and Mobility Specialist.

“I work with people who have typically had vision but who have lost it fairly recently,” she says.

“My main job is to help people regain independence that might have been lost with vision loss.”

How hard is it to adapt to vision loss later in life? Jane says the possibilities are more than you might imagine.

Jane has a personal connection to her work, because she grew up with a cataract in her right eye and had several surgeries to help her left eye adjust. Her right eye never did learn how to see, but she wants to show others what can be accomplished, even with vision impairment or vision loss.

“I understand how hard it is, particularly to lose vision,” she says.

“I understand the emotional and practical difficulty that it brings to people. But I also want to bring them hope and bring them examples of how even simple things can be accomplished with some training.”

Jane is a relatively new addition to the Lighthouse family. While the Lighthouse usually focuses on getting people into the workforce, Jane is part of the Independent Living Program (ILP), which helps people learn the skills they need to continue living independently.

The Lighthouse received the ILP contract in late 2019. Jane and her coworker Lynne from the Lighthouse provide ILP services to those in the Puget Sound counties of King, Snohomish, Skagit, Island, San Juan, and part of Pierce.

“I feel so grateful to the Lighthouse for taking this role on, and I feel thrilled for the community,” Jane says.

Each day she visits three or four people in the community, and teaches them communication, in-home, and orientation and mobility skills. They learn everything from using the phone, to tracking appointments, to managing medication to working with money and even getting around in their neighborhood. Whatever their needs are, Jane is there to help.

“I love my job. I love the look on people’s faces when they realize they actually can again do any number of things that seemed simple before vision loss, like being able to tell time, or cook their own meal, or get to the mailbox.”

“If people ask me what the best part of my job is, it’s the variety and working with people one-on-one.”

Outside of work, Jane loves gardening, movies, and “raised, glazed, juicy, just-out-of-the-fryer donuts.”

“The world around us is so rich if you just pay attention,” she says.

“I am shocked and full of admiration for people who are coping, sometimes with total blindness, later in life. It’s scary to lose anything, but we can overcome these things. The human spirit is truly amazing.”

A medium wide portrait of Jane Elliot, a light skinned woman with short light hair. She is standing in a garden, leaning against a rock wall, smiling.