They call it the “Sandwich Generation.” When you’re in your twenties and thirties, spend your time raising kids. Then, taking care of your senior parent’s healthcare requirements occupies your time when you’re going through your forties and fifties. You’re sandwiched between your children and your parents, hence the name. And it’s becoming increasingly prevalent. For caretakers, this means investing a lot of time thinking about Mom or Dad’s total care.
Setting up an appointment for Mom to go to an oncologist or a cardiologist feels like a priority, so you most likely won’t forget anything like that. What is sometimes missed, though, are things like the yearly appointment with a hearing specialist or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged. And those little things can have a powerful affect.
Hearing Health is Crucial For a Senior’s General Health
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. What’s more, your hearing is essential in a way that transcends your ability to listen to music or communicate. Loss of cognitive ability, depression, and several other health concerns have been linked to neglected hearing loss.
So you could be inadvertently increasing the chances that she will develop these problems by missing her hearing appointment. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well these days, it will limit her ability to communicate and be very isolating.
This sort of social separation can happen very quickly after hearing loss sets in. You may think that mom is experiencing mood problems because she is acting a bit distant but in actuality, that may not be the problem. Her hearing could be the real issue. And that hearing-induced solitude can itself eventually result in cognitive decline (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it type of organ). When it comes to the health of your senior parents, it’s crucial that those signs are recognized and addressed.
How to Make Sure Hearing is a Priority
Alright, you’re convinced. You have no doubt that hearing is relevant and that neglected hearing loss can snowball into other concerns. What can be done to prioritize hearing care?
A couple of things that you can do are as follows:
- Every day, remind your parents to wear their hearing aids. Daily hearing aid use can help make sure that these devices are working to their maximum capacity.
- Look closely at 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.
- 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.
- Anybody over the age of 55 or 60 needs to have a hearing test annually. Be certain that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such a screening.
- If your parents have hearing aids that can be recharged help them make sure they keep them charged when they go to sleep each night. If they are living in a retirement home, ask the staff to check this every night.
Preventing Future Health Issues
You’re already trying to handle a lot, especially if you’re a caregiver in that sandwich generation. And if hearing loss isn’t causing immediate issues, it can seem slightly insignificant. But the research shows that a whole variety of more serious future health problems can be avoided by dealing with hearing loss now.
So by making sure those hearing exams are scheduled and kept, you’re avoiding costly medical conditions later. Maybe you will avoid depression early. It’s even feasible that dementia can be prevented or at least slowed down.
That would be worth a visit to a hearing specialist for most people. And it’s simple to give Mom a quick reminder that she needs to be conscientious about wearing her hearing aids. Once that hearing aid is in, you might be able to have a nice conversation, also. Perhaps over lunch. Maybe over sandwiches.