This year's national celebration of Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, June 24-30, will be recognized world-wide for the first time. This is the result of a declaration adopted by the fourth Helen Keller World Conference on Deaf-Blindness held in Stockholm last fall, according to the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC).
Activities and events featuring information about vision and hearing impairments or deaf-blindness will take place throughout June. HKNC and other organizations are promoting an awareness of, and sensitivity to the needs of older adults who are experiencing serious vision and hearing loss and feeling a sense of confusion, insecurity, and dependence.
As the life expectancy has increased, so has the number of people with a dual sensory loss, usually gradual and often misunderstood or ignored by the older person. But with appropriate rehabilitation and training for independent living, a person can continue to maintain independence.
General behavioral changes may occur as a result of fear, confusion, or embarrassment caused by reduced vision and hearing. Any overall behavioral change should be investigated. Sensory losses should always be conclusively ruled out before an impairment of the mind, such as AlzheimeKs disease or "senility," is assumed.
For more information, contact Public Relations Department, HKNC, 111 Middle Neck Road, Sands Point, NY 11050; 516-944-8900, ext. 325.