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26 & 27
March 2019

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Assistive Technology Week: Deafblind UK gives Jennifer hope

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Jennifer served in the Women’s Air Force before working as a shorthand typist for many years. Seven years ago, she was diagnosed with macular degeneration, which causes gradual loss of central vision. She also lost all hearing on her left hand side ten years ago.

She told us her biggest challenges were: “Just getting things done – organising things like bills and payments and shopping is so much more difficult that ever before. Even feeding myself and managing medication is getting harder.”

Jennifer enjoys socialising and seeing her family, but said this can be difficult as not everyone always understands her sight loss, and because her daughters help her with practical things, she doesn’t feel she has time to talk to them for emotional support.

Jennifer joined Deafblind UK after meeting Kelly at a local friendship club. Kelly arranged for Jennifer to borrow one of Deafblind UK’s iPads. “I love it and it gives me hope for the future. I used to use a computer so I know how to browse the internet for shopping etc. but I wasn’t able to see the screen anymore. I am learning to use the accessibility features on the iPad. I even got to watch my grandson on Blind Date using the Channel 5 app!”

Kelly also referred Jennifer to Blind Veterans UK who provided her with other useful equipment and put her in touch with other veterans with sight impairment. And, after finding that she missed playing Scrabble and cards, Kelly showed Jennifer the large print versions of these available from RNIB. “I have added them to my Christmas wish list!”

“I now have Deafblind UK and others around me who understand sight loss and know exactly what I’m talking about. …A massive part of it has been the emotional support, someone to share with and understand what I am going through. It has given me hope for the future and raised my spirits. … To know there is practical and social support out there makes all the difference and makes me believe that a fulfilling future is possible.

“I know I can ring Deafblind UK if I have any questions or need any help or support. … I feel as if a burden has been lifted and because of it I am able to freely admit more to my issues and face them head on. … It’s so important that people like me are given a lifeline like this.”

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