You check in on your elderly loved on regularly, and you have arranged for live-in care through a homecare agency. He loves the aide who fixes his meals, reads with him and takes him on outings and to appointments. You are confident he is taking his medications correctly and is well cared-for. Lately, though, you have noticed he seems confused when you take him out to eat or to other family get-togethers and you wonder if perhaps he needs a higher level of care. One question may give you the answer. Has your loved one had a vision and hearing evaluation recently? The homecare agency depends upon your help to keep your loved one happy and well. Together you are the superheroes that do what your loved one cannot do for himself.
Nearly half of all people 75 years old and over have some degree of Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss. It is a gradual, progressive condition that affects both ears equally. The hearing loss may be more acute in crowds, and your loved one cannot communicate if he doesn’t hear the conversations. Hearing aids can greatly increase the hearing of most individuals, though they may have to be adjusted as the loss increases. Vision, too, may change as we age. People over 65 are three times more likely than younger people to have impaired vision. Glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts are the greatest causes of vision loss in the elderly, and yet we sometimes forget to have our elderly loved ones examined regularly to make sure they are seeing and hearing well. The homecare agency depends upon your help to keep your loved one happy and well. If you believe your loved one cannot afford to get hearing aids or glasses, you can go to the website healthfinder.gov to find assistance programs.
Because we depend upon all our senses to keep us in touch with our environment, even minimal loss of vision and sight can disorient us. Hearing loss can affect balance and coordination, making loved ones fearful of going outside. Studies show that losing those senses can also lead to cognitive difficulties, depression and anxiety.
So, the confusion your elderly loved one exhibits at family gatherings may be the result of poor hearing or sight. He may not be able to tell you what he is experiencing, and that is why regular examinations are important to your loved one’s quality of life. You have taken the step of getting live-in care to assure he is well cared for and has companionship; regular vision and hearing tests will assure you that he has the highest quality of life you can provide.
For more information on how you can help keep your loved one happy and healthy, contact us.