Six years ago, Ida lost her eyesight to a rare genetic disorder.
Losing her sight to illness was a traumatic experience, but she says the CNIB Foundation, a United Way partner, helped her access programs and services to help her through the hardship and regain her autonomy.
CNIB’s Vision Mate program matched Ida with Anne – a sighted volunteer who helps her with tasks like going to the grocery store, organizing the house, assisting with errands or simply going for walks around the neighbourhood.
Every two weeks, Ida and Anne meet for a couple of hours. During their time together, Anne helps Ida accomplish small tasks that are sometimes made difficult by Ida’s blindness.
With Anne’s support, Ida feels empowered and is better able to maintain her independence.
In Ontario, close to 200,000 people are blind or partially sighted. Additionally, the prevalence of sensory disabilities like sight loss are more likely to increase as adults age – and Ottawa’s senior population is greater than ever before.
United Way Ottawa works with CNIB to ensure local seniors continue to live their lives as they choose and stay connected to the community.
Luckily for both Ida and Anne, CNIB takes care to match clients with volunteers who have similar interests and life experiences. After years of spending time together, Ida and Anne’s relationship has evolved into a life-changing friendship that neither of them could have predicted.
Ida says she feels much more comfortable in her home and community thanks to resources provided by CNIB, United Way, and the generous donors that make this important work possible.