Supporting A Loved One with Hearing Loss in a Nursing Home

Supporting A Loved One with Hearing Loss in a Nursing Home

Aging is a normal part of our lives and as a support person for a loved one, it’s important to know when it’s time for someone to enter a nursing home or assisted living facility. It’s common for people to be harder on themselves, with feelings of guilt about sending your loved one away to a facilities’ care. However, it’s important to understand the world we are living in. It can be increasingly difficult to support a loved one between, work, self-care, and other obligations. A nursing home is equipped to support your loved one providing 24/7 care and a built-in social network, which many older adults greatly benefit from.

However, when a hearing loss is present, it can be hard for older adults to take advantage of the social aspects of a nursing home. Issues with hearing not only make it difficult to follow and respond to conversation but also decrease their awareness of space. They are more likely to be surprised by an oncoming sound and be more prone to falls. For this reason it’s important to take your loved one’s hearing health seriously.

Supporting your loved one from afar

It is one of the hardest things many grapple with when sending a loved one to a nursing home. You want to support them after feeling like you could visit at any hour to offer support. One in three adults over the age of 65 suffer from hearing loss and this number jumps to half after the age of 75 and up. In the rare instance that the person you care for lives to be a centenarian, (living to be 100 years or more!), there is an 100% chance that hearing loss will be present. Be sure to have your loved one checked for hearing loss in order to offer support, even when you can’t be there.

Support Hearing Loss Treatment

Those with hearing loss are far more prone to accident and social issues than those who are able to treat their condition. With the use of hearing aids, sounds which would otherwise be muddled are amplified, allowing your loved one to connect to other and feel more confident when out in the world. Impaired hearing results in a reduced ability to hear and process sound which produces a range of symptoms. These can lead quickly to strained communication and increase struggles in daily living. When you address your loved one’s hearing loss, you are also addressing a wide range of health effects which affect older adults such as cognitive decline, depression, and accidental injuries. 

Make Sure Hearing Aids are Used

Getting diagnosed and treated with hearing aids are only the first step. Now it’s time to make sure they are worn. Hearing aids best serve their user when worn daily from the time one is up until they go to sleep, only to be removed when napping or bathing. This can be quite a challenge for seniors who struggle with dexterity or memory issues. It’s up to you to go the extra mile to make sure your investment in your loved one’s health is full taken advantage of. 

Talk to the staff: Find out who regularly works with your loved on in providing daily care. Talk to them about your loved one’s hearing aids and ask them to help make sure they are being utilized. In addition, hearing aids work best when they are cleaned regularly. If you can’t rely on your loved one to maintain their hearing aids, ask the staff to help clean them as often as possible.

Label Them: Staff may change or turn over and a simple oversight may have hearing aids fall out or thrown away by accident. If hearing aids have a label with your loved ones’ name and room number, they can be returned if lost.

Hang Signs: As staff changes over, mistakes can happen. Put up signs in your loved one’s room with instruction about wearing and storing hearing aids. This way everyone who comes in the room knows that your loved one wears hearing aids.

Regular Hearing Checkups

Hearing changes over time, especially as we age. Make sure to attend regular hearing checkups biannually. It may be as simple as a quick hearing aid reprograming. Support your loved one by scheduling a hearing exam today!