National Services for Older Adults

Overview

People age 55 and over with combined vision and hearing loss comprise the largest group of people who are DeafBlind in the United States. Yet, many of them remain unserved or underserved. Often, these adults don’t think of themselves as "DeafBlind."

The most common causes of vision loss in older adults are:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Diabetes/diabetic retinopathy

Two women practicing fingerspellingFor people who have been sighted all of their lives, the impact of this loss can be profound. If a person also develops any degree of hearing loss, the results can be overwhelming.

HKNC offers consultation and specialized services to individuals who are experiencing a combined loss of vision and hearing, their families and the professionals that serve them. Our older adult specialist and 11 regional representatives are the first point of contact for these constituencies, providing them with information about resources and training opportunities that are available to them locally and nationally.

Confident Living Program

Are you a older citizen facing new challenges due to combined vision and hearing loss? HKNC’s Confident Living Program can help you take the first steps toward maintaining an independent lifestyle.

During the five-day program, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Try out the latest in assistive technology.
  • Learn strategies to help you take care of your home, prepare for emergencies, travel safely, enjoy leisure activities and more.
  • Find out about services and resources that are available to you.
  • Interact with people age 55 and over who know exactly what you are going through.

Woman leaning over a desk with a device in her hand.If you think the program is right for you, but you can’t — or don’t want to — travel to HKNC headquarters in Sands Point, New York, you can get the CLP experience closer to home. Contact your regional rep to find out when the program is coming to a city near you.

Learn more about the Confident Living Program

Advocacy and Education

The older adult specialist makes presentations at local and national conferences, offers workshops across the country and collaborates with government and nonprofit organizations to help cultivate a greater understanding of the abilities and needs of older adults who are experiencing a combined loss of vision and hearing.

Resources

Check out these sites for helpful information for older adults who are living with combined vision and hearing loss: 

Contact

For more information, contact Meredith Chillemi at mchillemi@helenkeller.org.