Using technology to bring our blind veterans closer to friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic
Ken served in the Territorial Army between 1961 and 1965 and took part in tours of Germany and Holland. It was later in life at the age of 73 that macular degeneration caused a deterioration in Ken’s sight which has been in steady decline ever since.
Now at 76 years old and with the majority of his contacts and connections based overseas the only way for Ken to keep in touch with his friends and ex-colleagues is via email or social networks, but due to his sight loss Ken was unable to access them properly on a standard mobile phone.
The combination of living alone, not being able to communicate with his friends, and quarantine because of COVID-19 left him feeling socially isolated.
Helping our blind veterans to avoid isolation
For many of our veterans a simple piece of technology can be life changing. That is why we provided Ken with a specially adapted Synapptic phone which is an amazing piece of equipment for people with sight loss.
“Blind Veterans UK were kind enough to provide me with this phone that’s voice-activated and speaks to you but I’d never figured out how to use e-mail, WhatsApp, LinkedIn and all these other social networks.” Ken
We also provided over-the-phone training so Ken would be able to get as much guidance and support as he needed to operate his new device.
“Little did I know that an hour long phone call to Dan at Blind Veterans UK would change my life so significantly. Dan was extremely patient and explained how to use the adapted technology in very easy terms. As a result I’m now speaking with my friends on a daily basis and emailing left, right and centre. It’s proved to be such an important social outlet for me during this period of social isolation and I can’t thank Dan enough for his support. I don’t know where I’d be without him.”
Due to COVID-19 Blind Veterans UK has adapted its service to support its 5,000 beneficiaries, 90% of whom are over 70 and thus being advised by the Government to self-isolate. The National Support Service is helping blind veterans through this period of social isolation.