Three Keys to Improve Communication for Seniors
May is National Better Hearing Month and for a senior who might be experiencing some type of hearing loss or challenges with hearing or understanding others, it can be difficult to handle. Losing any of our key senses due to age, illness, or other incidences is never going to be easy.
However, losing the ability to hear other people, listen to the birds, or even enjoy a good movie with quality sound can be difficult to handle. As people age, there are going to be a number of options available to them for support, often referred to as elder care. One of those is assisted living.
At a quality assisted living facility, seniors gain added benefits that they may not enjoy with other elder care options (which more often include family members — who might be a spouse, adult child, grandchild, neighbor, or friend — helping them at home).
Whatever elder care support an aging senior chooses, it’s important that they focus on three key points if they begin noticing it becoming more difficult to hear other people, understand the words they’re saying, or have other concerns about their ability to hear.
1. They should visit an auditory specialist regularly.
Hearing is one of those challenges that more and more seniors face the older they get. There are many options available today, including hearing aids. There might be medication, surgery, or other treatment options that a senior can enjoy to help them hear more clearly.
But, if they don’t visit their doctor as often as recommended, they could be struggling in silence. Too many people have a tendency to hide certain symptoms and not say what they’re worried about, mostly because they don’t want to hear bad news.
After all, who really wants to tell someone else, “I’m worried about my health?” Whether it’s hearing, a lump, vision loss, or other challenges, it’s difficult to admit that because then you’re going to be encouraged to visit your doctor and that’s when a formal diagnosis may come in.
This is one reason why too many seniors wait too long to visit their doctor after they started experiencing memory challenges. When it comes to hearing, though, an aid or minor surgery can often quickly and easily address these concerns.
2. They should use hearing devices as directed.
Some aging seniors may turn down their hearing aid when they don’t want to listen to somebody. If that person is constantly speaking and doesn’t seem to let up, that can certainly be understandable, but if they simply don’t want to hear opinions or advice, such as, “You really should consider assisted living,” they could be missing out on some incredible opportunities.
Communication is a two-way street and listening is one of the most important aspects of it, and if a senior is not using their hearing aids or other devices as directed, it can affect many other aspects of their days.
3. They should express concerns about hearing to staff members or a caregiver.
They shouldn’t hide it, as we mentioned. They should be open and honest. They should be encouraged to address these types of concerns as soon as they recognize them. When they do, there are often far better options for treatment than if they wait too long.