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Imagine Independence—The Possibilities Fair

Catherine Greenwalt was very excited to receive a new magnifier as a door prize at the Possibilities Fair.The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) will host the sixth annual Possibilities Fair for Seniors Who Are Losing Vision on Thursday, October 18, 2007, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $15 and lunch will be provided. It will be held at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, located in south Federal Hill at 1800 Johnson Street. To find out more, call (410) 659-9314, extension 2419 or 2297. The NFB Community Partnership Board invites the public to attend the Possibilities Fair, which will provide seniors with a hands-on opportunity to learn methods for improving their lives.

Americans are living longer, and vision loss occurs more frequently among those who are older. More than fifty percent of the 70,000 individuals who become blind in this country each year are over the age of sixty-five. This population is expected to more than double by the year 2030. The training these seniors need—general adjustment to blindness, independent living skills, Braille—is not readily available to them.

A senior tries the Big Eye Magnifying Lamp and LAP DESK™ during the senior fair.Seniors, though, are eager to learn about the strategies that will enable them to continue living independent lives. “American seniors have a strong desire to remain independent as they age. This is no less so for seniors who are losing their vision. The NFB Jernigan Institute, which works to develop innovative training methods and education for all blind people, places a high priority on the needs of these seniors who are often not provided the services made available to blind people of working age,” states NFB President Marc Maurer.

Dorothy DuBois gets a lesson with a long white cane while attending the senior fair.Demonstration stations will include speech output devices, mobility practice sessions, and techniques for the kitchen, as well as a display of helpful gadgets and gizmos available to make life more accessible. Participants will learn about books on tape and newspapers over the telephone, talking computers, and magnification devices. The fair will also include helpful hints about losing vision and enjoying life! In addition, there will be an interesting mix of nonprofit partners that will have an array of information, demonstrations, and displays for the seniors to enjoy.

With over 50,000 members from 700 local and state affiliates covering all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the Federation is truly the voice of the nation’s blind. Pennsylvania recently had a Possibilities Fair and New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho all have them in the works.

With its national headquarters located in Baltimore since 1978, the NFB has become the leading force in the blindness field today. The National Federation of the Blind is changing what it means to be blind through its dedication to improving the lives of all blind people by coming together, sharing resources, and developing useful programs that encourage self-confidence and independence.