Camp teaches ‘SAVI’ seniors independent living skills

Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Victoria Young works with a Camp SAVI participant on how to use bump dots to operate a kitchen oven

It’s no secret that vision loss among older Alabamians is common and can have a dramatic effect on daily life and independence. Camp SAVI (seniors adjusting to visual impairments) seeks to restore that lost confidence by teaching independent living skills to older Alabamians with vision loss.

Vision Rehabilitation Teacher Jane Bush demonstrates how bright lighting can boost contrast and magnification and make a profound difference for someone who has low vision

The five-day camp, now in its fourth year, was launched in May 2011 by ADRS’ OASIS program to provide participants with information about vision loss,  enhance their adaptive techniques for performing independent living skills, and expose them to information about some of the resources and services that are available through OASIS.

“The camp’s primary focus is on independent living skills,” said Lenore Dillon,  ADRS coordinator of rehabilitation teachers and orientation and mobility specialists. “It’s a camp covering everything these people did when they were sighted but now not so much – things like basic cooking techniques and kitchen safety. We’re restoring their confidence to do more on their own.”

Fourteen people participated in this year’s camp. The total was comprised of seven older Alabamians with visual loss and their family members. Activities include adaptive exercises and sessions on personal care, cooking, assistive technology, labeling, and orientation and mobility.

Camp SAVI is sponsored by ADRS, the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, and E.H. Gentry Technical School, and is held annually on the E.H. Gentry campus in Talladega.

VR Counselor Joey Richey shows a camper how to use tactile cues, such as texture, cut, style, and button design to identify clothing items without relying on sight