It’s referred to as the “sandwich generation”. When you’re in your twenties and thirties, your time is spent raising kids. Then, caring for your senior parent’s healthcare requirements fills your time when you’re going through your forties and fifties. You’re sandwiched between your children and your parents, thus the name. And it’s increasingly common. This implies that Mom and Dad’s overall healthcare will need to be considered by caretakers.
Making an appointment for Mom to go to an oncologist or a cardiologist feels like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget anything like that. But things like making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged or going to the annual hearing assessment can sometimes simply fall through the cracks. And those little things can have a powerful affect.
Hearing Health is Essential For a Senior’s Total Health
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Additionally, your hearing is crucial in a way that transcends your ability to listen to music or communicate. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to several physical and mental health concerns, like depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So when you skip Mom’s hearing appointment, you could be unintentionally increasing her risk of developing these problems, including dementia. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well these days, it will limit her ability to communicate and be very isolating.
This type of social separation can take place very quickly after hearing loss sets in. You may think that mom is experiencing mood issues because she is acting a little distant but in reality, that might not be the issue. It could be her hearing. Your brain is an organ that can atrophy if it isn’t used regularly so this kind of social solitude can lead to cognitive decline. When it comes to the health of your senior parents, it’s essential that those signs are identified and addressed.
How to Ensure Hearing is a Priority
Alright, you’re convinced. You recognize that hearing loss can grow out of control into more serious problems and hearing health is significant. What can you do to prioritize hearing care?
A couple of things that you can do are as follows:
- Keep an eye on your parents’ behavior. If you observe the TV getting a little louder every week or that they have trouble hearing you on the phone, speak with Mom about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to see if you can identify a problem.
- Help your parents to remember to wear their hearing aids daily. Daily hearing aid use can help make sure that these devices are operating to their highest capacity.
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 should be undergoing a hearing screening annually. Make sure that this yearly appointment is scheduled for your parents and kept.
- If you notice Mom avoiding phone conversations and staying away from social situations, the same is true. A trip to a hearing specialist can help illuminate the existence of any hearing difficulties.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids every night before they go to sleep (at least in scenarios where they have rechargeable batteries). If they are living in a home, ask the staff to pay attention to this every night.
Preventing Future Health Issues
As a caregiver, you already have plenty to deal with, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And hearing troubles can feel somewhat trivial if they aren’t causing direct friction. But the research shows that a whole range of more significant future health problems can be avoided by dealing with hearing loss now.
So by making certain those hearing tests are scheduled and kept, you’re preventing expensive medical conditions in the future. You could head off depression before it starts. It’s even feasible that dementia can be prevented or at least slowed down.
That would be worth a trip to a hearing specialist for the majority of people. And it’s easy to give Mom a quick reminder that she needs to be conscientious about wearing her hearing aids. You also might be able to have a nice conversation once that hearing aid is in. Perhaps over lunch. Maybe over sandwiches.