AAVL hosts several events during the annual convention of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) held each July. These events typically consist of a luncheon meeting with guest speaker followed by AAVL’s annual business meeting and a mixer at which members have a chance to socialize and get to know each other.
Due to the corona virus pandemic, the annual ACB convention for 2020 was held virtually. AAVL held virtual meetings during which various speakers participated. AAVL hosted a joint seminar with ACB's Rehabilitation Issues Taskforce. Lee Nasehi, President & CEO of VisionServe Alliance, the largest consortium of blindness agencies in the country, explored ways in which we can attempt to fill the ever-growing need for specialized services for seniors who are blind or low vision. Lori Scharf, Masters in Social Work and Certified Work Incentive Practitioner, addressed Medicare questions. She talked about such topics as when a person is eligible and what kinds of benefits can one receive. AAVL also held a panel discussion during which Jenine Stanley, Explorer Communications Manager Aira Tech Cor, and Alexa Holland, Enterprise Manager, Gogo grandparent, talked about how these companies can enhance your independence and quality of life. AAVL then held an open discussion on the work it is doing on behalf of seniors with vision loss.
Doug Powell has prepared a White Paper on current rehabilitation offerings for older blind and visually impaired persons and suggestions for improvements. He hopes to present this for legislative action. He is also preparing recommendations to the Rehabilitation Services Administration in the Department of Education for the need for more rehabilitation specialists and funding to assist older persons under the Older Independent Blind initiative. To read the white paper, visit the web site:
Larry P. Johnson, M.A. PHR, has written an advocacy article entitled “Aging and Vision Loss, When the Golden Years Begin to Lose Their Luster”, in which he discusses the issues facing seniors experiencing vision loss and the dire need to increase resources to assist them. He notes the significant and rising number of persons dealing with older sight loss, the principal causes for this, the major consequences and the types of services and interventions needed. To read his analysis, download the file by clicking here.
ACB hosts daily community calls on the Zoom platform. Between eight to twelve calls take place each day covering a vast variety of topics including social, technology, support, crafts, music, special groups and quite a few more. For more information and to learn how to join any of the calls, visit the web site:
AAVL sponsors a community call support group for people losing sight at older ages. It takes place on Tuesdays at 4:00 PM Eastern time, 1:00 PM Pacific time, and is called "The Ins and Outs of Sight Loss Later in Life". You can participate through the following Zoom connections:
Join the call:
One tap mobile: +13126266799,,86577005511#,,,,,,0#,,753480#
Meeting ID: 865 7700 5511
Another support group for people losing sight at an older age takes place on Sundays at 2:30 PM Eastern time, 11:30 AM Pacific time. It is called "A Whole New World". You can participate through the following Zoom connections:
Join the call: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89753298168?pwd=Z0pqbWVnNFNUTlBMcWhZcE5abnBZdz09
One tap mobile: +13126266799,,89753298168#,,,,,,0#,,808880#
Meeting ID: 897 5329 8168
Visabilities presents topics of interest to older people with sight loss through a community call on Thursdays at 7:00 PM Eastern time, 4:00 PM Pacific time. You can listen through the following Zoom connections:
Join the call
One tap mobile: +13017158592,,84159641815#,,,,,,0#,,736467#
Phone: 312 626 6799
Meeting ID: 841 5964 1815
In 2019 AAVL hosted a joint luncheon with ACB Rehabilitation Issues Taskforce on July 8 during ACB’s Rochester, NY convention. Mark Reichert, Director of Public Policy, National Disability Institute, spoke on the topic “Upping Our Game for Services to Seniors with Vision Loss”. Reichert, a long-time blindness community advocate, addressed the issue of how to make advocacy efforts more successful.
Following the luncheon AAVL hosted a panel discussion on “Innovations in Services to Seniors with Vision Loss”. The panel talked about new service delivery approaches to meet the complex needs of seniors suffering recent vision loss. Serving this rapidly growing population with the limited resources available is a major challenge and sharing success stories is extremely useful to improve service delivery nationwide. Panelists were Brian Daniels, Director, New York State Commission for the Blind, Albany, New York; Nancy Miller, Executive Director/CEO Visions/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, New York, New York; Sara VanBortel, Assistant Director, Vision Rehabilitation Department, Association for the Blind-Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, Rochester, New York; and Sylvia Stinson-Perez, Director, Older Blind Technical Assistance Center at the National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi.
AAVL also hosted a mixer on July 9 for its members and friends. Food and libation were served in a relaxing atmosphere where people could reunite or meet for the first time and share their stories and experiences.
In prior years, AAVL’s speakers have described dealing with becoming blind after age 50, preparing for emergency situations without sight and establishing local organizations to provide social, cultural and athletic activities for people with physical disabilities. AAVL welcomes suggestions for future programs and presentations.