Meet Ros: Ros is 63 and profoundly deaf but with the motto of ‘impossible is nothing’ she does not let her disability define who she is.
When she moved to Warminster a few years ago, newly retired Ros was feeling lonely andisolated in a new town with no friends or family acting as a support network. “Nobody prepares you for the loneliness of retirement especially when you have been used to seeing and talking to people every day. It is so easy to get into a rut as you have nothing to get up for. That can age you. I have loads of hobbies and love a challenge but it has been a very difficult time”. Ros faces additional challenges as due to her hearing impairment, she cannot use a telephone and instead she relies heavily on lip reading, so picking up the phone to make a doctor’s appointment, pay an electricity bill or even say hello to a friend is not an option. Ros felt like she was becoming a burden on the new friends she had made in the area as she relied so heavily on them to help her manage her personal affairs.
Wiltshire online stepped in
Luckily for Ros, Lesley Creswell from Wiltshire Council’s Hearing and Vision team was on hand to provide support. She referred Ros to the Wiltshire Online Team, a move Ros is incredibly grateful for.
The Wiltshire Online team arranged for Ros to meet Esther Allberry, a Digital Champion based in Trowbridge. “Esther has been amazing and I feel like not only have I learnt a new set of skills but I have found a friend. I had never used a computer before but Esther has been patient, humorous and very thorough, always checking I understand”. Ros feels the new skills have improved her life in a number of ways. Practically she can now take care of all her personal affairs via email.
What next for Ros? Skype! “I screamed with laughter when Esther Skyped her son to show me how it works. Seeing my friends and allowing me to lip read via the computer, WOW, I’m going to give that a go.”
Esther has enjoyed the experience as much as Ros. “The reason I volunteer for Wiltshire Online is because of people like Ros who not only appreciate you giving your time but use the skills you have taught them to change their lives. The most rewarding thing is watching when something clicks. Teaching somebody to do something as simple (to some) as emailing a photo can bring such joy and a sense of achievement to them that it is contagious”