DeeAnn Olsen is a 78-year-old woman who has been living with both vision and hearing loss for many years. Before she discovered iCanConnect, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, DeeAnn was struggling to stay connected with her friends, family, and community.
“I felt very isolated,” DeeAnn says. “I had a computer but I couldn’t see the screen, and it was difficult to hear conversations.”
During a visit with her low vision resources provider, a technician told her about iCanConnect and suggested she could be eligible for the program. iCanConnect is a national program with local contacts that provides free distance communication equipment and training to qualified individuals who have significant hearing and vision loss and who meet income eligibility requirements.
Once DeeAnn was accepted into the program, her local iCanConnect representative met with her to discuss her distance communication needs and goals. Through iCanConnect, DeeAnn received an iPad, an iPhone, and other equipment that was tailored to her specific needs. She also received training on how to use her new equipment.
“The training was invaluable,” she says. “Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to use the equipment to its full potential.”
iCanConnect has helped DeeAnn to reconnect with the world in many ways. She uses her iPad and iPhone to stay in touch with friends and family through email, text messaging, and video calls. She can schedule rides, pay bills, and connect with businesses online. She was able to stay connected with loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic by participating in conference calls with her family and friends. DeeAnn is able to live independently in her own home because she can use the equipment to schedule appointments and communicate with repairmen, services, and other people she needs to interact with.
“iCanConnect has given me a new life,” she says. “I’m so grateful for the program and the people who make it possible.”
DeeAnn has been using her equipment to help coordinate a big move from Minnesota to Arizona. ”I would never have been able to make this big, life-changing move without the equipment and training I received through iCanConnect,” she says. “It’s a huge relief to know the services I receive through iCanConnect will transition when I move. Heather Anderson, my iCanConnect contact and trainer, has been incredibly helpful through the whole process. Actually, she’s been incredibly helpful since I became a program participant a few years ago!”
DeeAnn is passionate about sharing her story and encouraging others to learn about iCanConnect. She knows that the program can make a real difference in the lives of people with hearing and vision loss.
“I highly recommend iCanConnect to anyone who is struggling to stay connected with the world,” she says. “The program is amazing, and it can make a big difference in your life.”