Providing visual aid to local seniors

Murtha Shell, of Fort Payne said the “reader” works very well, and she can see well with it.


Last week the Fort Payne Senior Center in the DeKalb County Council on Aging and Rural Public Transportation building received a Video Magnifier, also referred to as a Close Circuit Television.

The CCTV or Video Magnifier aids the seniors with low vision, helping them while they read.

COA Activity Coordinator Joyce Rabinowitz said Jennifer Rehfeld from the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind delivered the device and spoke to the seniors at the senior center.

DeKalb County Transportation and Council on Aging Director Emily McCamy said Rehfeld specializes more on visual services for AIDB.

According to Rehfeld, AIDB is the nation’s most comprehensive education, rehabilitation, and employment system serving individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, and multi-disabled and their families.

The device provides aid for a full range of visual needs, including macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, among some and it’s specialized for assisting individuals with various low vision-causing eye diseases and conditions.

The center hopes the newly acquired device will allow seniors to be independent through visual magnification.

Murtha Shell, of Fort Payne said the “reader” works very well, and she can see well with it.

She said she is not the only one in the center who has taken advantage of the device.

“I am not the only one using it; I have to share it,” said Shell.

Murtha uses the device to read her bible and various texts, including, “Eating your Way to Wholeness: A Practical Guide to the Holy Communion,” by Joseph Prince, which she was reading at the time of her interview.

McCamy said the device was brought in and set up in the senior center two Fridays ago.

According to McCamy, the device is not new but in good working condition and AIDB is working on trying to fix a few of the other machines.

“Those machines new cost $4,000. This is the first one the senior center has received, and we are working on trying to get more for the other senior centers in the county,” she said.

AIDB serves thousands annually through the Alabama School for the Blind, Alabama School for the Deaf, Helen Keller School of Alabama, Gentry Facility, Alabama Industries for the Blind and eight regional centers located across the state.

These regional centers include services such as assistive technology, case management, recreation, support groups, consumer education workshops and public education, among various additional services.

McCamy said AIDB has many programs available that people may not know about.

“They work with adults, not just children, and they have a completely separate section for seniors,” she said.

According to McCamy, the agency works with adults that are losing their vision or hearing, not just people that are already deaf or blind.

“There is so much out there we don’t know about. Your world really opens up when you know you have so much available,” she said.

For information on AIDB services and programs, visit

DeKalb County Council on Aging is located at 600 Tyler Ave, SE, Fort Payne.

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