The Lighthouse Senior Tech Program is a 16-week training course designed for older-blind individuals who are interested in enhancing their independence through the use of computer technology. It is divided into two 8-week modules. Applicants receive an initial assessment and typing test to determine whether they possess the physical and cognitive skills necessary to successfully complete the program. Potential applicants who do not exhibit proficiency in typing and keyboard management are not immediately accepted into the program, but they are welcome to attend free typing classes to develop their skills prior to acceptance.
The purpose of the Senior Tech Program is to enhance the independence of adult-blind individuals by teaching them the skills they need to perform common activities of daily living (ADLs) through the use of standard computer applications and internet functions. Upon completion of the 2-part program, each client will have been taught the skills necessary to perform the following ADL tasks:
- Creating documents in Word for correspondence or personal file management
- Maintaining an address book
- On-line shopping
- Reading books
- Reading the newspaper
- Receiving emergency evacuation and weather reports
- Researching medications
- Finding, organizing, and reading recipes
- On-line telephone directory
- Viewing restaurant menus before dining
- Communicating with friends / family through email
- Personal enrichment activities (i.e. writing poetry, viewing family photos, researching family tree, listening to favorite music, etc.)
Trouble-shooting & finding help when needed
The guide aims to help make the federal grants available to seniors, veterans, and disabled people much easier to understand and take advantage of, particularly for remodeling homes for accessibility.
How can a blind person use a computer?
There are 2 types of specialized software for the blind that allow people with varying degrees of vision loss to use a computer like anyone else. These programs are called assistive software, and they come in the form of a screen-magnifier or screen-reader.
Screen-readers are designed to replace visual information with auditory information to allow completely blind individuals access to all standard computer programs and functions. They are controlled by using various keyboard commands and are not designed to function with a mouse.
View a demonstration of screen-reader technology.
Screen-magnifiers enhance the images on a computer screen through personalized magnification, color, and contrast options. Some screen-magnifiers even offer speech capabilities to support the enlarged visual information on the screen. They are controlled by a combination of keyboard commands and mouse movements. Therefore, some vision is required to successfully manage this type of assistive software.
View a demonstration of screen-magnification technology.
Screen-reader and screen-magnification software make it possible for individuals with visual impairments to enjoy the same tools for efficiency as their sighted counterparts. The goal of the Senior Tech Program is to reduce the stress and frustration that many adult-blind individuals experience due to their limitations in reading, writing, and transportation. Proficiency in performing ADL tasks on the computer can reduce eye strain and decrease dependency on caregivers, while increasing an individual’s self-esteem and activity level.
Senior Tech classes are on-going at the New Orleans and Baton Rouge campuses. However, knowledge of the keyboard and typing skills are required to participate. Students must be 55 or older to qualify. Free typing classes are available to students of all ages on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 am to 10:30 am.
Other resources for Seniors can be found at the following websites: