[Nfb-seniors] response to posted messages and announcement of 2nd conference call from NFB senior division president

Ruth Sager RSager at BISM.org
Fri Feb 27 17:48:01 UTC 2015

Good Afternoon Everyone:

I would like to first, thank everyone who participated in or listened to the last senior division conference call on developing Cane travel techniques as a senior.  My desired goal is to stimulate lively interaction among seniors and give the opportunity to ask questions to those who want to explore their travel options.

We have chosen the next several topics, however, if you have a specific area you would like to be addressed or, you believe your group of seniors may have a special interest, please let me know what you would like to have presented and, if possible, suggest a moderator to facilitate the topic you wish to be addressed at a future date.

The calls have occurred during the day (in the afternoon) and, I have had some feedback that evening/night calls would be more convenient for some members to participate more easily especially thos who work during the day.  Please give me your thoughts on this as well.  We could have both afternoon and late evening calls if this would be helpful for some folks.
Robert Leslie newman has been recording our calls and then placing them on our senior web page seniors at nfb.org<mailto:seniors at nfb.org> so you can downloadthem for future use.  You can also access the calls via the telephone by using the following call back number:


The access code to use remains the same:  759633pound.  I think there was an incorrect 8 somewhere in your instructions.

The other information about using the reference numbers is correct:
7 pound gives you this last call Cane travel,
4 pound gives you Cooking by Touch,
3 pound gives you Blindness:  A Family dynamic,
2 pound gives you Financial Management After Blindness.

I also know that many of you are feeling that your efforts at reaching out to seniors is not appreciated by many of them. You give them possibilities just by being who you are and providing role model leadership for them.  Our message is "It is respectable to be blind and, I'm okay with my blindness."  This is not the message they hear from anyone else.  Mostly the messages they receive are:  "You are too old, too disabled, too infirm and, not knowledgeable to make important decisions for yourself anymore."  It may not be stated so bluntly but, when family members take over daily living skills the person can do or decide how money should be spent or where and how the senior should live, the message is very clear.

Many seniors do give up and believe that they can't learn, perform satisfactorily especially any new task or, meet new challenges.  But across the board, I think the general public has been told in so many ways:  Life should be easy, fun, and, someone else will provide you with the answer to whatever problems you have.  So it should not be surprising to note that many people in their senior years have come to believe that making changes is difficult and beyond their capacity to cope with this new life they must face.

If you show someone how to fold money, for example, you have given them a choice on how to manage money more efficiently.  They may use this method or not-at this point, it is their choice.  Before you demonstrated this method to them, they did not have a choice-now they do. You have made a difference in their life by sharing your talent, time and knowledge of blindness with them. They may not be willing or ready to accept your suggestion however, you have shown them a new possibility for a new way of life for them.
 We often change in very small incremental ways but you never know the impact you have on someone.  By speaking with them respectfully and with kindness you have lifted their load even for a little while.  As they come to know you, some seniors will begin to trust you and then believe you.  We all started somewhere on this path of living with blindness no matter when we lost vision because we have all dealt with the misconceptions and limitations others have placed upon us.  We had to learn to trust those who did believe in us and to try new things and learn new skills and, yes, take positive criticism when necessary.

I hope by sharing with one another-even our frustrations-we will be able to give support and encouragement as well as some ideas for helping change the predominately attitude of helplessness the senior population faces.  As we too age, we will be faced with all of the challenges of aging despite our ability to live successfully with blindness.  We too must continue to change and meet new and often challenging situations.

So, what I want to say is how grateful I am to all of you who reach out and give of your time, talent, energy and knowledge to others whether newly blind seniors or anyone else losing vision.  This is what federation members do best!

I want to announce our next upcoming senior division conference call to be held Wednesday, march 11, 2015 with the topic, Braille-Can I Truly Learn braille As A Senior? moderated by our senior division secretary, ms. Shelley Kopel.

Here is the announcement:


Conference Calls in 2015

Wednesday, march 11, 2015
Braille Can I learn Braille as a senior? Moderator:  Shelley Coppel, SC Secretary of the NFB Senior Division

Shellley Kopel has a master's degree as a teacher of the blind, TVI, and has taught in Nebraska for several years, at the Commission for the Blind and more recently at the Colorado center for the Blind.  She currently resides in South Carolina and is the fabulous secretary for the  National Federation of the Blind Senior Division.  She reports:
"This afforded me the opportunity, in those early days especially, to teach blind individuals skills, and at the same time, really feel confident within myself to accomplish what I was telling others they could do. I have met so many wonderful people through the National Federation of the Blind who have helped to shaped my opportunities and ultimate belief in myself."  Shelley willingly passes her knowledge and skill on to others.  Please join her as she moderates this all-important conference call Braille-Can I truly learn it as a senior?

Time of Calls:

All calls will be held at the times listed below

4:00Eastern standard time,
3:00 Central time,
2:00  Mountain time,
1:00  Pacific time.

The conference call numbers are as follows for all calls:

Dial 712-432-1500

Access code:

All calls will be recorded and put on the NFB Senior webpage and directions for calling back to listen to the call if missed will be given a few hours after the calls have taken place.

In order to obtain the best possible sound for these calls, it is recommended that each caller, after dialing in, press star 6 which puts you in a "mute" mode.  You will be able to hear everything during the call but background noise from your location will not disturb others listening in on the conversation.  When you wish to speak and enter the discussion, press star 6 once again and you will be released from the "mute" mode and able to participate.

It is also highly recommended that each person wishing to speak state his or her name and wait for the moderator to recognize you before speaking.  We can have too many people trying to seek the floor at one time and chaos can occur.  The moderators will do their very best to recognize as many callers as possible however, they will determine the order in which speakers poceed.

Again, when finished with your comments, press star 6 once again to go back into "mute" mode to facilitate better, uncluttered communication for everyone.

We are very pleased that you are interested in joining our conference call sessions and we welcome your input, participation and we hope that you will then share what you learn with others and encourage friends and colleagues to join you in participating in these calls whether speaking or simply listening. By the way, you do not have to be a senior to participate and join in with us. Each call will be about one hour in length. Come join us and learn to Live The Life You Want.

Ruth Sager,
National Federation of the Blind
Senior Division

Ruth Sager
Coordinator, Senior Services
Rehabilitation Division
Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM)
3345 Washington Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21227
Office:  410-737-2649
Fax:  410-737-2689

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SAVE THE DATE--August 20, 2015 POSSIBILITIES FAIR for Seniors Losing Vision Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM)
3345 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21227 Recommended for Low Vision & Blind Seniors 55 +
For more info, contact: Andy McIver, amciver at bism.org, 410-737-2648
Ruth Sager, rsager at bism.org, 410-737-2649 Shirley Riffle, sriffle at bism.org, 410-737-2645

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