Annie is an 82-year-old woman living with dry macular degeneration. For the past nine months, she has been regularly attending the adjustment to blindness support group at Lighthouse of Collier. In that time, Annie has grown from a passive listener to a regular participant, confident in her ability to contribute to the group conversation.
When joining the group, Annie did not have a mobile phone and had no interest in owning one. However, after several months of listening to group members discuss the various tasks that a smart phone can accomplish, Annie started believing she could learn to use one. She spent the next month or so asking questions about which phone she should purchase. Soon after, she bought an iPhone and began scheduling weekly assistive technology lessons.
Four months later, Annie grew able to effectively use Siri and voiceover to send and receive text messages, answer and end phone calls, make a phone call, listen to voicemail messages, make and receive a FaceTime call, check the time and weather, and set alarms and timers. Since purchasing her iPhone, Annie reported feeling safer and much more independent. She feels more connected with her children and grandchildren and no longer feels isolated when home alone. In fact, Annie declared that without the encouragement and support of her group she would never in her wildest dreams have considered getting an iPhone. She feels immensely fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet other people who understand what it is like living with vision loss, and refers to them as her “Lighthouse family.”