Reaching Blind and Visually Impaired Seniors

Compiled by the ACB Membership Committee

 
Seniors often don’t want to identify as “blind” people, so it’s necessary to reach them where they are. Below are some suggestions you and your chapter members can try.
 
·      Make friends with your state’s older blind coordinator and suggest they advertise your meetings, and add your information to their website.   
·      Leave brochures and business cards with ophthalmologists, audiologists, and sight/hearing impairment centers offices (especially those that specialize in cataracts and macular degeneration) and suggest distributing your meeting information and any resource lists.  
·      Contact your local senior centers, assistive living facilities and senior apartments, state or county aging and blindness committees, support groups, and eye-related conferences to suggest speakers from your chapter to explain the purpose of your group and the resources you can provide.
·      Find the Department on Aging and deaf-blind agency in your community and offer to assist them with blindness or low-vision resources (including chapter contact information). Your chapter could offer tip sheets with a list of resources that would interest those losing their sight. This information could be disseminated to social workers on staff at any agency.
·      Contact Ears for Eyes (1-800-843-6816) and order some of their audio recordings to distribute to newly blinded older people.
·      Ask some of your older members to choose one older newly blinded person to contact by phone and suggest helpful ideas for independent living learned from ACB.  
·      Ask your local Lions Clubs for help locating newly blind people and finding transportation to meetings.
·      Give an award to a noteworthy visually impaired senior in your community.
·      Host a happy hour at local senior center.
·      Have an annual appreciation breakfast.
·      Have members try to get on radio interview shows.
 
For an updated resource list for people losing their sight, contact membership committee chair Ardis Bazyn via email, abazyn@bazyncommunications.com.