Comment From Jane: As a daughter of a 90-year-old mother who lives 500 miles from me, I would like ideas and suggestions for dealing with her isolation. She has hearing problems and she is very uncomfortable in group activities because she can't hear, even with state-of-the-art hearing aids. How can I find kind people who would simply visit my mom in her home?
Rob Romasco: Hearing loss can often lead to isolation in older adults, and it may make them feel embarrassed or uncomfortable in social situations.
You might try contacting agencies on aging, senior centers or houses of worship where your mom lives.
Many of these organizations have volunteer friendly visitor programs, which will match her with one or more persons who share similar interests and will visit her to chat regularly in her home.
At home, the environment is more controlled and she may be able to hear better.
In general, avoiding situations with lots of background noise may be best for her. Senior centers and other agencies sometimes offer outings, activities and programs for individuals with difficulty hearing, seeing, etc.
Other resources include the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, and eldercare.gov.
Comment From ConcernedCaregiver: What is the best way to lead a conversation with a loved one when their mobility using a walker is no longer a viable option, because of chronic knee pain, and a wheelchair or other portable device may be the better option?
Rob Romasco: In our Prepare to Care brochure, there is a section on “Starting the Conversation” that may be helpful for this conversation and many others down the road.
Here are the key points:
- Find the right person to lead the conversation.
- Do your research ahead of time.
- Raise the topic indirectly.
Remind your loved one you aren’t taking over their life, just trying to help them stay independent.