Deaf and Blind Man

Mr. B. takes joy in listening to the many sounds of God’s creation.

The GRACE continuum of care focuses on food, clothing, shelter, and medical care to serve its mission of giving compassionate care to those in need.

Sometimes, though, what our clients need fall beyond our capabilities.

When a person comes to GRACE, many more resources open up to them than GRACE alone can provide. It is a “value added” experience because of our extensive network of collaborating partners.

Our help for “Mr. B” is a very meaningful example. He joined our Friends & Family program two years ago September. At the time, he was beginning to lose his sight to glaucoma. He is now 76 years old and completely blind.

The Friends & Family program focuses on decreasing senior isolation in our community. The program provides seniors with assistance for rent and utilities, food and hygiene supplies, clothing and bedding, crisis support, case management, budgeting, volunteer support for companionship, home maintenance, and a safe and secure quality of life.

For Mr. B, specific assistance and training for the newly visually impaired was needed. GRACE turned to several of our 85 collaborative partners for help.

GRACE Friends & Family Coordinator, Christine Szymaszek, contacted the folks at the Agency for Older Individuals with Blindness (OIB).

Christine briefed the OIB trainers on Mr. B’s situation, and together they helped him adapt. Mr. B took technology training to help him regain his computer skills. He was introduced to audiobooks, and how to gain access to various audio libraries, so he could once again enjoy one of his favorite pastimes, “reading”.

OIB trainers helped him acclimate to a lifestyle without sight. Still another issue was beginning to make all of his advances useless. The OIB trainers noticed Mr. B’s hearing was also badly impaired.

Mr. B’s hearing loss was not new—it may have, in fact, dated back to his childhood. He was able to compensate throughout his life using his eyes. Now that his sight was gone, his hearing impairment now stood in his way.

Once again, OIB came forward and provided Mr. B with a thorough hearing assessment. Hearing aids were prescribed, which a GRACE collaboration partner gave to Mr. B at no charge. He went from a “hearing comprehension” score of 25% to a score of 85%.

“I have been pretty much deaf for so many years I didn’t know how much I was missing,” said Mr. B. “The sounds are beautiful! Praise God!”

Now, yet another GRACE partner, Metroport Meals on Wheels, visits Mr. B with regular meals. Mr. B has found a “new normal” for his life. He is still learning to manage without sight.

Recently, he started learning how to walk with a cane, and that sometimes means some scuffs and bruises. But with the help of GRACE and its many collaborative partners, Mr. B will take these in stride too.