Seniors who are hard of hearing – but physically fit and mentally alert – will often shy away from social situations. They will tell you that it’s “too noisy for me” or “I just don’t feel up to it today.” If you suggest that they get involved at a senior center the reaction might be even more definite – “I don’t want to be around all those old people.” You may think they are just being difficult or negative, but in many instances, there is something else going on. And it may be as simple as – ” I can’t hear any of the conversations which means I can’t participate so it’s frustrating and embarrassing.”
How Can You Help These Seniors Enjoy A Family Gathering?
- Select a “designated listener” – one designated person (like a designated driver) who will be at the side of the senior for the entire event.
- As the conversations begin, as the designated listener, think of yourself as an interpreter. This means that every few minutes you will summarize the conversation so the person has an idea of what people are talking about. To do this – be sure to speak to them at eye level, use short sentences and space your words so that they register or have time to “land” inside their head. Refer to my blog dated February 11 about how best to speak to someone who is hard of hearing. “I May Be Hard of Hearing, But You Don’t Have To Shout”.)
- Periodically ask the senior a question and have them share the answer with the group so that they feel they are participating in the conversation.
- If appropriate, keep a pad and pen handy so you can also write down some keywords to help with the communication summary.
The result – your loved one will feel part of the conversation and engaged. They will not have feelings of isolation and you will have given them a reason for being there. You have provided the relevance they so much want in this type of situation. I hope you will pass these tips along to others. When around our seniors – let’s all remember…They won’t want to play – if they can’t hear what you say!
If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in New Castle County, DE, call Griswold Home Care
and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (302) 416-6758