We all treasure friendship, recognising the value it brings to those it touches. But friendship doesn’t just relate to people we know well. It’s a quality which can infuse our relationships with those around us, brightening the day for all concerned.
However, someone with sight loss might struggle to make or maintain friends. This could be because of challenges when using phones or other means of communication, or because of travel and mobility difficulties relating to visits. People with sight loss can also struggle to start, or engage in, conversations if they don’t know who’s nearby, or realise they’re being addressed. Because of this there’s a significant risk that a person with impaired sight could become isolated and lonely.
Put a smile into your voice when engaging with someone with sight loss and if you know a person’s name, use it in conversation. Spend that extra five minutes chatting or take a cup of tea with them. Your contact could make all the difference to their quality of life.
Extending friendship to others brings value to our own lives as well as the lives of those we reach out to. This is well known to EYECAN’s lovely volunteers, but it’s true for all of us.
EYECAN works hard to prevent any Islander with sight loss from becoming isolated. Our Community Team provides assistive equipment to enable communication, and mobility training to boost confidence around visits, whilst Social Clubs provide a friendly environment in which members engage with others.
We often reflect on an occasion which proved the value of our Social Clubs: when a client’s cold prevented her from attending 5 other members phoned EYECAN to advise this. A friendship network had developed after initial contact at our Centre.
If you know anyone with sight loss, please give them a moment of your time – and do encourage them to contact EYECAN.