Society for the Blind recently received $25,000 from M&M Whitmire Family Foundation in Roseville to provide classes and training for seniors with vision loss and blindness. The grant will fund the group’s Senior IMPACT Project that empowers people age 55 and older with alternative, non-visual techniques and skills that enable them to perform day-to-day tasks and activities so they can maintain or increase independence.
“One out of four seniors in Sacramento is struggling financially, and most seniors in California do not have retirement accounts,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “As this rapidly growing population begins to lose their vision, programs like the Senior IMPACT Project can help these seniors achieve their goals and gain skills that allow them to stay independent. Thanks to this vital funding from M&M Whitmire Family Foundation, hundreds of seniors with vision loss can enjoy life to the fullest.”
The Senior IMPACT Project includes an eight-day retreat offered monthly at Society for the Blind that gives seniors an immersion experience where they learn alternative techniques and skills to travel safely, efficiently and independently. They practice alternative techniques and use adapted tools to perform tasks of daily living including cooking, cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, organization, personal finance and more. They learn how to use the latest in assistive technology to operate computers and mobile devices for home, school and work, and they learn Braille. Participants receive individualized attention from instructors and mentors who are blind or low vision, and they have the opportunity to join in discussion groups with peers on issues around vision loss and participate in community activities. For those unable to attend retreats, Society for the Blind sends instructors to their homes to teach skills and offer resources. The Senior IMPACT Project includes monthly peer support groups for English and Spanish speakers and workshops throughout the year.
“We are extremely honored to work with Society for the Blind on the ongoing support, programs and tools they provide to individuals and families with a wide variety of vision impairments,” said Jessika Cano, director of senior outreach, M&M Whitmire Family Foundation. “The Senior IMPACT Project is such a unique program that is much needed in our community, so we are humbled to be able to donate to such a program. Individuals with little to no vision have so much to offer our community and we are so glad that Society for the Blind is here locally to facilitate such training and support for individuals to maintain their independence and have their families keep flourishing in our community.”
Celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.
M&M Whitmire Family Foundation’s mission is to assist children in need and senior care within the Sacramento area.