Dorothy from North Wales has been living with age-related deafblindness for a number of years. She explained: “My eyesight deteriorated through glaucoma and my hearing has become awful just by getting older. I can’t hear the clock in the hall even though my son says it’s loud enough!”
Dorothy, who is now aged 96, lives alone in a supported living complex but her deteriorating condition often leaves her feeling isolated. “Everyone is very friendly but I stay in my room more and more these days.” She continued.
So coming along to the Deafblind Cymru social group once a month is one of Dorothy’s few chances to leave her house and meet other people: “Going to the group in Rhyl is lovely as it gets me out of the house and is a nice change of scenery. It’s not easy to talk to everyone about my sight and hearing loss so it’s hugely reassuring to meet other people who are experiencing something similar to me. I’m not very good at asking for help!”
Deafblind Cymru arranges for a volunteer to collect Dorothy and drive her to the group each month. “I need a wheelchair as I can’t walk long distances so I often struggle to find someone to take me out. But having the chance to go to the group despite this restriction is brilliant! She continued.
Dorothy’s reduced sight and hearing can make it very difficult for her to continue her lifelong passion of crafts and knitting. So the craft sessions at the group have been perfect for her. “I have always enjoyed crafts so to have the chance to carry this on is fantastic. When I was younger I couldn’t wait for my mother to allow me to use her sewing machine – it was a treadle one. I was dying to use it! She used to say ‘you’re not old enough yet’, but the day I was allowed to use it I thought it was the bee’s knees! From then on I’ve been so keen on crafts, particularly on embroidery.
“Without the opportunity to do crafts at the group, I would be very miserable! Everyone has been so welcoming and people are ever so patient. I’m so thankful for all the help I’ve received.” Dorothy said.
Dorothy also looks forward to reading Open Hand, the quarterly magazine from Deafblind UK. “I think it’s magnificent! It’s great to hear what other deafblind people are getting up to and it includes useful information for us all.” She said.