Real-life Stories: Digital Angels

Digital Angels help isolated older people in South Leeds to get online, develop digital skills, and to feel part of their community. Here is one of their success stories about working with a client with sight loss.

Digital Angels received a referral from Adult Social Care - Visual Impairment Rehabilitation Team. The client was referred to Digital Angels because he was struggling with technology due to his sight loss and wanted to get online to keep up to date with the outside world.

The client had health conditions which impacted on his mobility and sight and left him vulnerable to isolation and loneliness. He had diabetes and as a result of his diabetes he had an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. This is a progressive condition which causes significant sight loss and in particular sensitivity to light.

The man lived alone, with his pet dog, and got around using a long cane. He had a laptop that he found difficult to use. He had to sit in the dark and use a hand-held magnifier to see the screen and a torch to see the keys on his keyboard. He struggled to find the keys and navigate around the screen. He also had difficulty with the contrast on the laptop’s screen and the size of its icons, mouse pointer and text.

Digital Angels took the man on as a client and worked with him to assist him with his technology and ability to connect with others using the internet.

During the initial visit with the Community Development Worker looked at his laptop. Together they explored different colour contrast settings until they found one that was friendlier to his sight condition. They enlarged the laptop’s text, changed it to white on a black background, and made the mouse pointer much larger. They also activated an inbuilt magnifier that made everything under the mouse pointer up to 200% larger.

The man was amazed at the huge differences even these small changes made. He was paired with a volunteer who worked with him over several weeks to make his technology accessible and to enable him to use the internet.

During the last visit the man said that the project had enabled him to use his technology with confidence, keep up with family and friends, and enjoy his interests and hobbies in the local area.

Digital Angels is a digital inclusion project for the over 50s delivered by Age UK Leeds and funded through Time to Shine.

To find out more please visit their website: www.ageuk.org.uk/leeds/our-services/digital-angels

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