“At the time my sight started to go I’d been in hospital and my wife had just died, everything was going around me. I was more or less at the bottom and didn’t know how far I was going down.”Blind veteran Ken
Ken joined the Royal Air Force in 1949 and served for nine years but, like the vast majority of those we support, lost his sight decades later due to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
It’s a sad fact that many of the blind veterans we support suffer from social isolation. It happens as we get older and our families leave us, and partners pass away. For people with sight loss, that isolation is all the more painful to bear.
It’s not just about losing other people though, with Ken it was also about being isolated inside himself. You are unable to carry out tasks such as going to the shops or even pick up a phone to speak to a friendly voice. For those who can’t see, it often leads to losing your self-belief, and – even worse – your sense of belonging.
Ken says: “The first thing Blind Veterans UK did was to arrange for me to visit their training centre down in Brighton for an intro week. It was only when I came back I realised how low I had been.
“Just having company again did and still does make a huge difference.”Ken
Perhaps most importantly though, Ken now attends several Blind Veterans UK events and the charity also connected him with one of our volunteers. Liam now visits Ken several times a week.
We have set a target to recruit 500 more volunteers with a specific focus on recruiting Home Visitors like Liam. This is crucial in helping to combat the isolation experienced by so many of our veterans like Ken.
Blind Veterans UK helps ex-Service men and women of every generation rebuild their lives after sight loss. Since 1915 we’ve provided rehabilitation, training, practical advice and emotional support to tens of thousands of blind veterans.
Ken’s story is an example of the difference made by the training, rehabilitation and support the charity provides. He has been given new equipment, like a CCTV Magnifier, which allows him to read his mail again and a specially adapted electronic tablet which allows him to keep in touch with friends and family.
We at Blind Veterans UK are specialists in helping our isolated veterans but most importantly, we’re also people, like you, who understand and care. We give those who have served our country support that ranges from rehabilitation and training to practical advice, and vital emotional support.
Together we can help rebuild blind veterans’ lives after sight loss. Away from isolation. Towards a life of fulfilment.