When we were asked to submit a “success story” for the OASIS program (Older Alabamians System of Information and Services), we were daunted. How does one choose from among so many successes?

For the OASIS program and the Alabamians it serves, success can be as simple as providing a 97-year-old master bridge player with low vision playing cards so she can continue her weekly card games or introducing audio books to a retired teacher who was sure literature was lost to her forever.

Then There’s Ms. Dorothy

Ms. Dorothy was 79 years old and recently widowed when she was referred to OASIS. After caring for her husband, she realized that new glasses would not solve her vision problem. Her greatest fear was that she was going to have to give up cooking, which had been her solace for many years. Through OASIS, Ms. Dorothy learned to use her other senses to help her in the kitchen. She began to use a safe cooking tips and techniques to help her judge the doneness of items she is cooking.

a selection of adapted items for the kitchen

A selection of adapted items to help with cooking.
Learn more about kitchen safety and adaptations at Kitchen Safety 101.

Managing Her Finances

The OASIS program also helped her continue to manage her finances independently. One of the changes following her husband’s death was the need to sell the home she had shared with him for many years. The sale and relocation were difficult for Ms. Dorothy. She was, however, very proud of the fact that she was able to go to a new bank and open an account, showing the people there how to mark papers for her signature. Now, she is once again writing checks to pay her bills.

Using a Magnifier to Help with Shopping

Ms. Dorothy was sure that she would not be able to go with her daughter or sister to the mall. She thought that not being able to read sizes and prices would take the fun out of these excursions. Through OASIS, she learned about low vision services and how a magnifier or other type of low vision device can make price tags easier to read. She also learned to organize and label her clothing.

The OASIS program has helped Ms. Dorothy maintain her independence and given her the tools to enjoy life. It has helped her gain the confidence she needed to relocate successfully and to continue participating in activities with her family and friends.