Many adults and children who are deafblind remain isolated and under-served in Canada. This causes a ripple effect that puts their health and safety at risk, puts tremendous strain on their families and ultimately our communities. CDBA National must continue to broaden our outreach and education efforts to ensure that those who are deafblind and most vulnerable in Canada receive basic services that ensure their well-being.
There is a growing population of seniors. A significant symptom of aging is the high prevalence of combined hearing and visual impairment. This is expected to contribute significantly to the health care concerns of this growing population.
CDBA National has the expertise and thus is in a position to educate the Canadian population of this growing issue and to help prepare this demographic for these implications. More research, education and training is necessary to better prepare health care professionals, family members and other service providers to ensure appropriate services for this demographic who suffer from dual sensory loss.
In fact, a national strategy is needed to ensure that aging and elderly adults continue to be as independent as possible and ensure their health, well-being, ability to communicate and be involved in their communities.
CDBA needs to continue to educate society and governments about the impact of dual sensory loss. The key to ensuring this recognition, and the provision of equitable and quality services throughout Canada, is the declaration of deafblindness as a “unique” disability.
There are ‘rights’ laws which guarantee adequate services and supports for those who are blind and to those who are deaf, but very few of these services would support the needs of the person who is deafblind. Those who are deafblind require access to an Intervenor, someone to be their eyes and ears, allowing them to communicate, develop skills, interact with their environment, and be full participating members of society.