It’s known as the “sandwich generation”. You go through your twenties and thirties raising your kids. Then, caring for your senior parent’s healthcare needs occupies your time when you’re in your forties and fifties. You’re sandwiched between your children and your parents, thus the name. And it’s becoming increasingly common. This implies that Mom and Dad’s total care will need to be considered by caretakers.
You likely won’t have any difficulty remembering to take Mom or Dad to the cardiologist or oncologist because those appointments feel like a priority. But things like making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged or going to the yearly hearing exam can sometimes just fall through the cracks. And those little things can make a huge difference.
Hearing Health is Important For a Senior’s General Health
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Moreover, outside of your ability to communicate or listen to music, it’s essential to have healthy hearing. Loss of cognitive ability, depression, and several other health issues have been connected to untreated hearing loss.
So you could be unknowingly increasing the chances that she will develop these issues by missing her hearing exam. It will be socially isolating if Mom can’t communicate because she can’t hear very well.
This sort of social isolation can happen very quickly when hearing loss begins. You might think that mom is having mood issues because she is acting a little bit distant but in actuality, that may not be the problem. It might be her hearing. Your brain is an organ that can atrophy if it isn’t used on a regular basis so this kind of social solitude can result in cognitive decline. So recognizing the signs of hearing loss, and making sure those signs are addressed, is essential when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Fine, we’ve convinced you. You acknowledge that hearing loss can grow out of control into more severe problems and hearing health is important. What can be done to prioritize hearing care?
A couple of things that you can do are as follows:
- If your parents have rechargeable hearing aids help them make certain they keep them charged when they go to sleep every night. If they are living in a retirement home, ask the staff to check this every night.
- Help your parents to remember to wear their hearing aids daily. Hearing aids operate at their greatest capacity when they are worn consistently.
- If you notice Mom avoiding phone conversations and staying away from social situations, the same is true. Any hearing problems she may be having will be identified by her hearing professional.
- Anyone over 55 should be undergoing a hearing exam annually. Make certain that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such a test.
- Pay attention to how your parents are behaving. If your parent is having trouble hearing you when you talk to them or seems to be turning the TV up louder and louder, encourage them to make an appointment for a hearing test.
Avoiding Future Health Problems
You’re already dealing with a lot, especially if you’re a primary care provider in that sandwich generation. And if hearing loss isn’t causing immediate problems, it can seem a little unimportant. But the research is quite clear: managing hearing ailments now can prevent a wide range of serious issues over time.
So by making sure those hearing tests are scheduled and kept, you’re preventing costly medical problems later. You could head off depression before it begins. You may even be able to reduce Mom’s risk of developing dementia in the near-term future.
That would be worth a trip to a hearing professional for the majority of people. And it’s easy to give Mom a quick reminder that she should be conscientious about wearing her hearing aids. Once that hearing aid is in, you may be able to have a nice conversation, also. Perhaps you’ll get some lunch and have a nice chat.