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Deaf-Friendly Assisted Living: What You Need to Know

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Your loved one has trouble communicating due to hearing loss. Everyday tasks are becoming a trial for your aging parent due to deafness. You’re constantly worried about their physical safety because of their hearing loss.

You’re not alone.

Nearly all aging adults have at least some hearing loss. In fact, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD), 25% of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have disabling hearing loss. After the age of 75, the percentage jumps to a whopping 50%.

That’s why it’s so important to find a deaf-friendly assisted living facility for your aging loved one. But, what exactly does that mean?

In this article, we’ll give you a quick run-down of what to look for when deciding on deaf-friendly senior care.

What is a Deaf-Friendly Living Community?

Deaf-friendly senior care can empower the hearing impaired and allow your loved one to have the highest attainable standard of living possible. These communities address the challenging problem of breaking linguistic barriers for those with disabling hearing loss.

A good deaf-friendly living facility will have some of the following qualities:

  • Cultural Awareness Trained Staff. It’s important for staff and healthcare providers to be trained and familiar with deaf culture to better understand how to communicate.
  • Medical Interpreters. Communicating with someone who is deaf is challenging enough but when it comes to explaining health problems and diagnosis it can be even more complex.
  • Advanced Technology. Many facilities will have voiced text messages for residents as well as video communication for communicating via sign or captioning.
  • Deaf-Friendly Buildings. This includes everything from doorbells and phones that light up to emergency alarms that vibrate beds or have high-power strobe lights.

As technology progresses, more and more assisted living facilities will have access to deaf-specific communication. Breaking linguistic barriers through implementing technology is important for empowering people with disabling hearing loss.

Deciding on a Deaf-Friendly Living Facility

Although most assisted living facilities cater to those with hearing loss, there are some important factors to consider before moving your loved one. Always take a tour of any facilities you may be considering.

Always take a tour of any facilities you may be considering.

As you walk through potential retirement homes, assisted living communities, or senior care facilities, ask your tour guide the following questions:

  • Is there audiovisual equipment in place?
  • Is there staff on hand who are fluent in sign language at all times?
  • Does the facility have alternative alarm systems for people with hearing loss?
  • Are there ways for staff to quickly communicate with seniors via video & captioning calls?
  • Are there social events available for the hard of hearing?

Use your eyes as well. Do you notice staff communicating with deaf seniors? Do you see alarms that light up as well as sound? All of these things will give you a good idea of if the facility is a good fit for your loved one.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when searching for an assisted living facility, especially if your loved one is hard of hearing. But, it is possible. With a good amount of research, your aging friend or family member can happily enjoy the next chapter of their life.

In the end, you’ll both be glad you took the time to find something deaf-friendly.

Have any tips on finding a great deaf-friendly living facility? Leave your comment below and share your experience with the community.

This article was written by Natasha Moore, head writer at Platinum Communities, an assisted living facility located throughout eastern Wisconsin and beyond. She is committed to providing help to families navigating the tough world of Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory care through her written word.

Comments

  1. Marilyn Rae says:

    We are only looking for some kind of *clip on to clothes* or *tiny gps tracker to stick ■ on HA* for easier finding for those living in long term care.

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