Three of Scotland’s leading charities have combined forces to improve the lives of veterans across Scotland.
Age Scotland, Action on Hearing Loss and Scottish War Blinded have collaborated to create a new guide for veterans, urging them to get their hearing and sight tested before it is too late.
Ex-servicemen and women who were exposed to loud noise from small arms fire, artillery, engines, other machinery or explosives are at particular risk of developing hearing loss, and many leave it too late to have sensory tests.
Research by the charities has also found links between sight loss and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Ingrid Penny, an outreach worker for Scottish War Blinded in Aberdeenshire, explained the importance of supporting veterans with limited visibility or hearing.
She said: “Scottish War Blinded supports many veterans with sight loss in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, providing a network of support and activities which helps prevent them from becoming isolated.
“We also help veterans develop skills which enable them to live independently with sight loss.
“We believe there are many more veterans across the north-east who could benefit from the support we provide.
“That is why we are working alongside Age Scotland and Action on Hearing Loss to get the message across that it is vital veterans who are concerned about their sight or hearing have it checked as soon as possible.
“No matter how or when their sight or hearing loss occurred, they can access a wide range of services from Scottish War Blinded and other organisations working with veterans.”
The charity has helped fulfill the dreams of a visually impaired man in Inverness.
Jo Long was able to take to Eden Court’s stage alongside industry professionals thanks to the help of Highland Outreach Workers Mick Hilton and Sheena Menzies.
The charity hopes to expand even further across Scotland and also urged for people to be asked if they have served in the forces when they are registering for a Certificate for Vision Impairment so that veterans be signposted to the right support.
Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland said: “Older veterans with sight and hearing loss often miss out on a wealth of support available to them, either because they are unaware it is available, or because they don’t realise they count as a veteran.
“Anyone aged 65 years and older who has done and received pay for at least one day’s service in the UK Armed Forces is classed as an older veteran, including national servicemen, reservists and merchant navy who have supported a military operation.
“It’s a privilege to work with our partners to ensure older veterans with sight and hearing loss know about and can get the help when they need it.”
The Combating Sight and Hearing Loss guide, produced by Age Scotland, Action on Hearing Loss and Scottish War Blinded can be requested from the Age Scotland Helpline 0800 12 44 222.