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Reading machine restores visual data to resident

February 22nd, 2022

For many years, Points West Living Stettler resident Eileen Greene was a bookkeeper, managing the books and accounts for her family farm. Unfortunately, in recent years, visual impairment has made it next to impossible for her to read even her own mail, let alone ledgers and spreadsheets. That changed a month ago, when Stettler resident Trena Adolf offered up a SARA CE Document Reader.

Dramatic impact

"When Trena first called to see if PWL Stettler could use the machine, I didn't understand what it was,” says Recreation Therapist Lisa Smith. “Once she clarified that it was a way for a visually impaired person to read documents, I became hopeful that it would benefit Eileen. I had no idea it would have such a dramatic impact on her life.”

The SARA CE is programmed to scan a document and read the content aloud, with controls for language, speed, and repetition. It also connects to a monitor, allowing a visually impaired user to increase the text size to the point it is readable.

Even the phone bill sounds good

“When Eileen was introduced to the SARA CE she immediately saw the potential benefit,” says Lisa. “The first thing she chose for the machine to ‘read’ was her phone bill! As the machine read out the details, Eileen’s face lit up with the realization of what this machine would allow her to do.”

Bank statements and tax reports

Eileen has set up the SARA CE in the office corner of her suite, and after the first weekend, she was smitten. “This machine is amazing!” she told Lisa. “I spent my entire Saturday having it read my bank statements, and tax reports, and to listen to Christmas letters my daughter hadn't had time to read to me yet."

It was meant to be

Lisa followed up to let Trena know how much Eileen appreciated the reader. “This was meant to be,” Trena responded. “I had tried to donate the machine to a couple of organizations for the blind, but kept facing barriers. I tried to sell it on Kijiji with no takers. No matter what I tried, I couldn't find a place for it. Now I know why. It was meant to go to Eileen!"

Photo: (Clockwise from bottom) Eileen Green, Trena Adolf, and the SARA CE Document Reader. Thanks to Trena’s generous donation, Eileen can now ‘read’ bills, books, and personal correspondence. It has become an essential component of the office she has set up in her suite at PWL Stettler. 

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