Caring Families - Improving Independent Living

1 decade 2 years 8 months ago Wednesday, February 15 2006 Feb 15, 2006 Wednesday, February 15, 2006 4:42:43 PM CST February 15, 2006 in News

"It really dawned on me when I picked up my mail and I couldn't read it," said Mary Bradley. "You know, I couldn't do my financial pieces. I couldn't shop for myself. I couldn't do any of those things."

Now, Mary and others like her live independent lives, thanks to the Adaptive Living Center at Lighthouse International.

"The Adaptive Living Center is actually like a home," said Dr. Tara Cortes. "It's got a kitchen. It has a laundry. It has a bedroom. So, people really learn to function in their homes and be able to do their activities of daily living."

Kitchens can be hazardous for visually-impaired people. But, with a few tricks and helpful devices, it becomes manageable. And, Lighthouse training doesn't stop there.

"We have orientation and mobility specialists who help people walk outside independently, and perhaps use buses and subways if they still want to do that," said Naomi Mendelsohn. "We have social workers who address the emotional needs and concerns, and our low-vision department who would try to assist with any magnifiers or other devices that might be helpful."

Living independently means managing finances, so writing checks and addressing envelopes becomes possible with templates. There are also aids for people with some vision.

Bradley was a social worker who helped other people in New York City, so she appreciated what Lighthouse did for her.

"I came with the desire," she explained. "They gave me all the tools to get to where I needed to go."

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