Veterans with sight loss are keeping connected during the lockdown, thanks to mobile devices featuring Synapptic software. The software has been designed to make accessing mobile technology easy, whatever your level of sight loss.
Tech-savvy National Service veteran, David Weir, 86, has been using his Synapptic smartphone and tablet to keep in touch with family and friends, sort out groceries and find entertainment while staying at home.
David has the eye condition macular degeneration and struggles to use standard screens and keypads, due to his low vision. His “life-changing” devices with Synapptic software feature in-built audio and magnification properties, enabling him to send texts, emails and browse the internet.
David was one of the first veterans to receive a Synapptic smartphone from sight loss charity Scottish War Blinded in 2017. He was introduced to Synapptic technology at the charity’s Linburn Centre in West Lothian, which is currently closed in line with the Scottish Government’s coronavirus guidance.
David said: “Having this digital knowledge has made a tremendous difference at this difficult time. The lockdown certainly would be lonelier without these devices.
“Thanks to my Synapptic smartphone I’m able to text my family when I’m in need of groceries. I can write down my shopping list on the notepad feature on my tablet and I’ve been emailing it to my family. It can also read messages out loud to me and I can dictate replies.
“With being home 24/7, I’m using these devices constantly to download talking books. My vision means I cannot see to read. I can also use my tablet as a diary or for entertainment from YouTube.”
David says digital skills can help to fend off feelings of loneliness – something many Scottish War Blinded veterans with sight loss say they have experienced prior to lockdown due to the impact of a visual impairment.
David said: “Without the introduction I had to all this technology at the Linburn Centre, before the lockdown, I wouldn’t be doing all this. I think without my phone and tablet and the support of Scottish War Blinded, things could feel quite isolating.
“Learning to use this technology has changed my life a lot. Being able to text and make a call gives you some independence. When you want to find a contact, Synapptic technology will read the names out to you, so you don’t have to find it and read it. That’s a big thing when you have sight loss.
“Digital training and access to these devices for people with sight loss is more important than most people realise. It all makes life completely different.”
In 2019, the youngest veteran to receive a Synapptic device from the charity was 21 years old. The oldest was 99.
Rebecca Barr, Director of Services, Scottish War Blinded, said: “Devices with Synnaptic software and the digital training we have provided to Scottish War Blinded veterans with sight loss, prior to this pandemic, is proving to be all the more beneficial for those individuals during this extremely difficult time.”
Synapptic provide free telephone training and free lifetime technical support, with every Synapptic Phone or Synapptic Tablet package. For those who have an existing Android device, the software can be purchased separately. All Synapptic devices come with a 2-week money-back guarantee.
Visit Synapptic’s website at www.synapptic.com for more details. Or alternatively, call on 0191 909 7 909 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scottish War Blinded gives free support to former servicemen and women with sight loss in Scotland, no matter if they lost their sight during or after service, and including National Service veterans. For more information about the support the charity offers veterans with sight loss, call 0800 035 6409 or visit www.scottishwarblinded.org.