Jefferson discusses AARP with local group

  Vatreecia Young of the Mississippi Dept. of Rehabilitation Services talks with Josetta Jefferson, president of the Clay County AARP, after the meeting of Clay County Peer Group for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
By: 
DONNA SUMMERALL
Staff Writer

The Clay County Peer Group for the Blind and Visually Impaired began almost a year ago and is open to those living with blindness.

The group meets once a month for people who are visually impaired to share the commonality of being blind.

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services provides Independent Living Services for the Blind. The program assists legally blind individuals adjust to their blindness by becoming able to care for their specific needs.

Josetta Jefferson, president of the Clay County AARP, was asked to speak to the group about what AARP has to offer.

"I'm with Clay County AARP #5252," Jefferson said. "I'd like for everyone to consider joining AARP. You must be at least 50 years old. We exist to help in the community. We go to area nursing homes to visit the residents, visit hospitals, we participate in Adopt-a-Family, and we are having a luncheon for the area first responders. EMTs, firefighters, police, and city officials. We want to say how much we appreciate what they do for us every day."

As a member of AARP, there are discounts for car rental, plane tickets, resorts, AT&T Wireless services and many more, Jefferson said.

"There is help with Medicare," Jefferson said. "Re-enrollment is open right now, and AARP can help with deciding on supplemental insurance and term life insurance to help with final expenses."

Young answered questions about what the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitative Services does for those who are legally blind.

"The ILB program serves approximately 700 direct cases," Vatreecia Young of the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, said. "With more than 1,200 indirect services.”

She explained that direct cases are open cases and indirect services are outreach services.

"I love what I do," Young said. "I love helping people discover a better way. This group is a way for the visually impaired to be with others who understand what it is like to live without sight. It gives them something to look forward to."

Eligibility criteria for the older blind program is that people be 55 or older and legally blind. The part B eligibility requirements are that the person be legally blind and have a secondary disability. For both programs, gainful employment may not be feasible but independent living goals are achievable, according to Young. ILSB serves Lowndes, Noxubee, Clay, Monroe, Calhoun, Chickasaw and Pontotoc Counties.

For more information about Independent Living Services for the Blind, contact Young at 662-241-7671, or by email vmyoung@mdrs.ms.gov.

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