A blind army veteran from Aberdeen has been using the latest technology to able to speak with his loved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ken Carter spent 30 years in South East Asia as an engineer, which means the majority of his friends and former colleagues are abroad.
The 76-year-old from Woodside used to use email and social media to keep in touch but his sight loss meant this was not possible.
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.
Ken received a specially adapted Synapptic phone a few years ago through charity Blind Veterans UK.
He said the charity were able to help access applications on the device which has previously used to keep in touch.
Ken said: “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 the 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.”