It’s referred to as the “sandwich generation”. You go through your twenties and thirties bringing up your kids. Then, caring for your senior parent’s healthcare requirements fills your time when you’re in your forties and fifties. You’re sandwiched between your children and your parents, hence the name. And it’s increasingly common. This implies that Mom and Dad’s total care will need to be considered by caretakers.
Scheduling 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. But things like making sure Mom’s hearing aids are recharged or making the yearly hearing test can sometimes just slip through the cracks. And those little things can make a huge difference.
Hearing Health is Important For a Senior’s Total 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 necessary to have healthy hearing. Loss of cognitive ability, depression, and several other health issues have been connected to untreated hearing loss.
So you may be inadvertently increasing the chances that she will develop these issues by skipping her hearing appointment. It will be socially isolating if Mom can’t communicate because she can’t hear very well.
This sort of social separation can occur very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So if you observe Mom starting to get a bit distant, it may not have anything to do with her mood (yet). Her hearing could be the real problem. Your brain is an organ that can atrophy if it isn’t used on a regular basis so this kind of social isolation can result in cognitive decline. So recognizing the signs of hearing loss, and ensuring those signs are addressed, is essential when it comes to your senior parents’ physical and mental health.
Prioritizing Hearing Health
Okay, we’ve convinced you. You acknowledge that hearing loss can snowball into more severe issues and hearing health is significant. How can you make sure hearing care is a priority?
A few things that you can do are as follows:
- The same is true if you notice Mom starting to isolate herself, canceling phone conversations, and avoiding people. Any hearing problems she may be having will be identified by her hearing specialist.
- If your parents have hearing aids that can be recharged help them make sure they keep them charged when they go to bed every night. If they are living in a retirement home, ask the staff to check this each night.
- Keep an eye on your parents’ behavior. 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.
- Help your parents to remember to wear their hearing aids every day. Hearing aids work at their optimal capacity when they are worn consistently.
- Once every year, people over 55 should have a hearing exam. Make sure that this annual appointment is scheduled for your parents and kept.
Avoiding Future Health Issues
You’re already trying to handle a lot, especially if you’re a caregiver in that sandwich generation. And hearing troubles can feel somewhat unimportant if they aren’t causing direct friction. But the research is pretty clear: treating hearing ailments now can protect against a wide range of serious issues in the long run.
So when you bring Mom to her hearing test (or arrange to have her seen), you could be preventing much more costly conditions later on. You could head off depression before it starts. You may even be able to lower Mom’s chance of developing dementia in the near future.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing specialist. And it’s simple to give Mom a quick reminder that she should be diligent about wearing her hearing aids. Once that hearing aid is in, you may be able to have a nice conversation, too. Perhaps over lunch. Perhaps over sandwiches.