A blind veteran from Aberdeen has thanked military charity Blind Veterans UK for providing him with the technology and training to be able to communicate with friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic.
76-year-old Army veteran Ken Carter spent 30 years in South East Asia as an Engineer, meaning the majority of his contacts and connections are overseas.
Luckily Ken had received a specially-adapted Synapptic phone from the charity that supports blind and partially-sighted veterans a couple of years prior.
“The only way to keep in touch with my friends and ex-colleagues is via email and social networks but due to my sight loss, I was unable to access them.
“The combination of living alone, not being able to communicate with friends, and quarantine because of Coronavirus left me feeling extremely isolated indeed.
“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.
“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.”
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.
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 will help blind veterans through this period of social isolation.
Nicky Shaw, Blind Veterans UK Director of Operations said:
“Having to self-isolate, blind veterans need our help right now with daily tasks, such as shopping, and constant emotional support through this difficult time. So we are temporarily changing our service and mobilising our staff to provide practical, essential support to help the most vulnerable.
“There is so much that we can and must do to support blind veterans to help them maintain physical and emotional wellbeing, and to feel safe, reassured and cared for during this crisis.”
You can keep updated on Blind Veterans UK’s response to Covid-19 at blindveterans.org.uk/coronavirus where you can also find out more about supporting the charity to make this new service possible.