Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

RDPFS Awards Grant to VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Group Rehabilitation for Older Underserved Persons

Vision rehabilitation services for older adults provide training in independent living skills, indoor mobility training, and basic adaptive technology instruction. Despite the rising numbers of older adults experiencing vision loss, funding for these services is extremely limited. Almost all state and federal dollars are allocated to individuals attending college or seeking employment. Therefore, VISIONS and other vision rehabilitation agencies must pilot strategies that maintain quality services while offering efficient ways to implement them among larger numbers of people. RDPFS funding will support the development and implementation of a group training curriculum. By providing group training, VISIONS seeks to reduce the significant wait list for services; help older adults build supportive relationships with peers; and connect them to ongoing services. This Adaptive Living Program (ALP) group training will include older adults (ages 55 and over) who are legally blind and live in New York State. The training will be conducted at the VISIONS Center on Blindness (VCB) in Rockland County, New York. A key component of this program will be individual follow-up training in group participants’ homes after the residential component to reinforce and transfer skills into the home setting. Once the curriculum is developed, tested, and refined, VISIONS will continue to offer the group training option, utilizing funds from the New York State Commission for the Blind. This model will be shared in New York State and nationally with organizations reaching professionals in the blindness and aging fields.