Jennifer is a retired teacher who lost her sight in 2007. She is now totally blind and has age related hearing loss. She, and her husband, have found it difficult to adjust to her sight loss. She said: “I can’t make friends myself. I have to be passive and wait for people to talk to me and can’t initiate anything.
“The most challenging things are social gatherings, such as a meal out. I have to rely on identifying voices and work out who they are speaking to. Background noise is often unbearable and I often feel stupid or excluded – although I know that is never intended. Consequently I limit myself to small family gatherings at home, which is a shame because it restricts my husband as well.”
Deafblind UK volunteer, Shaun, regularly visits Jennifer and they walk over three miles together each time.
“Without him I would have nothing! The physical activity makes me feel alive, alert and normal. The companionship makes me feel valued because Sean comes of his own accord, not from duty or because he is paid. We make jokes and he treats me normally, which not everyone does. I can talk to new people on the walks through him and do not become a burden.” Said Jennifer.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Shaun hasn’t been able to visit Jennifer but has been calling her every week.
Jennifer said: “Befriending gives me a great feeling of confidence and self worth. I can’t tell you how good he is or how much he means to me. I would love to be able to volunteer myself. Thanks to Deafblind UK for making my life more bearable.”