Oakmont of Santa Clarita observed White Cane Safety Day, which honors the independence and self-reliance of blind people in the United States, on Monday.
“This day is set aside for those who have made strides to maintain their independence despite the challenges of blindness,” said Igor Molchanov, executive director of Oakmont Santa Clarita. “There is still a great sensitivity and awareness that they have for their surroundings. Their determination to remain independent, aside from assistive and safety devices, is their best tool to handle each day and the world around them.”
Established as a joint resolution from Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, it recognized White Cane laws that protected blind people’s independence to work and travel, according to the National Federation of the Blind’s website.
“The white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person’s ability to come and go on (their) own,” Johnson’s proclamation said. “Its use has promoted courtesy and special consideration to the blind on our streets and highways.”
As a way to honor White Cane Safety Day’s significance, Oakmont provided tips for people living with seniors who are blind or are visually impaired on their website.
“One of the best ways to help people with blindness is to have empathy and try to understand what it’s like to have that limitation and to lend a helping hand if they see someone who needs it,” Molchanov said. “At the same time, people who have successfully navigated blindness independently are proud of it, and might resist assistance as they see it as being needy. In that case, just show them dignity, respect and treat them just like you would anyone else.”
While the following is recommended for those living with vision impairments, these precautions are open for people’s consideration in caring for their eyes as they age, according to Oakmont’s website:
- Prevent falls or other injuries that can affect vision with slip-proof rugs
- Safety railings are an essential tool for helping individuals with impaired vision navigate the world and their homes
- Avoid loose railings by keeping them securely tightened
- Inform an eye doctor of any health risks that can affect sight, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and of any new health conditions and medications. He/she will take those into consideration when providing a comprehensive assessment of a patient’s eye function
- Stay fit and exercise regularly to maintain blood circulation and oxygen intake, both of which benefit eye health
- When outdoors, where protective eye goggles
- Get sleep, which provides natural lubrication for the eyes, clearing away irritants during any daytime activity.
For more news and upcoming events at Oakmont, go to oakmontofsantaclarita.com/news-articles/.
Matt Fernandez contributed to this report.