Seniors Are in Charge and In-person This Week at CCB!

a blind instructor talks with his student, a senior woman as they walk with white canes along a residential street
Dishon and Olive on the return leg of a travel lesson near the center. Seniors in Charge this year was blessed with lovely fall days.

For the first time in two years, our week-long Seniors in Charge is live and in-person at the Colorado Center for the Blind! These four dynamic and intrepid older blind folks have been waiting since spring of 2020 to get five full days of blindness training in Braille, technology, cane travel and kitchen skills, and they are determined to get the most out of this opportunity to spend quality time with our Senior staff! Duncan, Chris, Stephanie and Dishon are not disappointing them with long, and at times, intensive training every day. They even spent time in the wood shop with Paul on Tuesday.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since our last group,” said Duncan Larsen, our Director of senior Services during Monday morning’s introductions. “I know you have all been waiting for a long time to attend Seniors in Charge, but i can’t tell you how happy we are to finally have you here in person!”

a senior woman navigates the hallway among other students with her instructor following
Janice and Chris return from a travel lesson and got caught in the traffic between ITP classes, which Janice navigated smoothly. Julie Deden is coming up behind them.

Seniors in charge brings older blind folks into the center for a full week. Participants stay at our apartments. We typically run this unique program twice a year and have a waiting list. Early in 2020, Duncan was considering offering it three times a year because the waiting list was so long.

But then COVID forced us to cancel the May, 2020 program, and the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021 were also sidelined. That meant that everyone was put on hold, plans pushed back.

“My goals have always been to remain as independent as I can and to stay in my home,” says Olive of her reasons for attending the program. And that is a fairly universal theme. Olive, who will turn 89 this week, lives in Littleton. The other students this week came from Aspen, Brighton and Florence.

An older woman uses a support cane in her left hand and shorelines on the right with her white cane while her instructor observes
Kathy quickly found her level using a white cane in one hand and support cane in the other. And she and her instructor Stephanie B took full advantage of the fall afternoon out front at the center.

There are some modifications for COVID, naturally. Participants must be vaccinated and masks worn indoors, which is the required protocol for everyone at the center at this time. And all the cooking takes place at the center in our much more commodious commercial-sized kitchen. (Some meals in the past were prepared at the apartments.) But all the essential elements of our training are still in place.

The program wraps up Friday morning with a Friends and Family gathering and certificate ceremony. There’s no question this crowd will definitely have earned those certificates!

a tall, older man wearing learning shades examines the detail of a stone bas relief with his fingers
Jere’s travel class turned into a tour of tactile artwork at the center. Here he examines a detail of the Colorado Front Range Mural by Ann Cunningham, which is installed in the meeting room.