Hearing loss can happen at any age. But the issue is more dominant among older adults. The National Institute on Aging says around 1 in 3 people between 65 to 74 suffer from hearing impairment, while 25% start having symptoms after turning 60.
It can be challenging for seniors to perform daily tasks with complete or partial hearing impairment. Keeping the growing aging population with hearing loss in mind, long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities offer tailored programs and services to make their lives easier. Fortunately, there are many senior living for deaf and hearing-impaired older adults across the USA.
So, if you have an aging parent or relative with a hearing impairment, don’t worry. This blog will discuss how deaf senior living communities can accommodate your elderly loved one with hearing problems, how much they cost, their amenities, and other valuable resources that can help you choose the best available option!
What is a Deaf-Friendly Senior Living?
Deaf-friendly retirement communities are senior care facilities that enable the highest standard of living possible for older adults with hearing problems. The facilities ensure that through customized programs, hearing aids, trained staff who efficiently communicate with hard-of-hearing seniors, etc. They aim to create a safe, stimulating, and compassionate living situation for partially or entirely deaf older adults.
How can deaf retirement communities benefit hard-of-hearing seniors?
Deaf-friendly retirement communities can benefit hard-of-hearing seniors in many ways. It can be categorized into two sections, social benefits and health benefits. Let’s have a look at some of the significant advantages of deaf-friendly senior care facilities:
Social benefits of Deaf senior living
- Encourage interaction: Since deaf senior living has trained staff fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), residents will feel more comfortable interacting with them. They can also express their feelings if they are facing any distress or need something.
- Encourage socializing: Group homes for the deaf open doors for hard-of-hearing seniors to socialize with peers and share their experiences. It gives them a sense of belonging and makes them feel like they are not alone. Hard-of-hearing seniors can make new friends and fight isolation through socializing.
- Encourage creative expression: With various creative activities specially tailored for deaf seniors, deaf senior housing allows residents to explore their creative side. Activities such as painting, writing, doing DIY crafts, and reading can stimulate their minds. Additionally, taking up exercise classes, participating in board games, and having captioned movie nights with fellow residents can provide the entertainment relief they need.
Health benefits of Senior Living for Adults with Hearing Loss
- Prevent falls and injuries: Many surveys and studies have associated hearing loss with falls and injuries. For example, according to the American Geriatrics Society, about 13% of newly diagnosed seniors with hearing loss experienced injuries from falls. On the other hand, the percentage was half in the case of older adults with normal hearing abilities. Deaf senior living can provide residents with appropriate safety measures, exercise plans, and preventative technological aids through their risk assessment that may lead to reduced falls.
- Reduce the risk of Dementia: Among other risk factors of hearing loss, developing Dementia is significant. Hopkins Medicine says a mild hearing loss can double the risk of Dementia. At the same time, a moderate decline can triple the risk, and severe hearing impairment imposes a five times higher risk of developing this debilitating disease. Mainly because hearing loss causes social isolation and other cognitive declines that may lead to Dementia. Deaf-friendly senior living can reduce the risk by providing a deaf-friendly living environment, cultural awareness, trained staff, and engaging activities.
- Ensure better mental health: As we mentioned earlier, hearing loss can lead to withdrawal and lack of socializing, which may negatively impact the brain. But deaf-friendly assisted living can help seniors stay connected with the community by providing different communication opportunities and activities.
- Provide necessary resources: Senior living for deaf and hearing-impaired provide various resources to the residents and their families. These resources help them find the right healthcare provider and get the preventive care their older loved ones need.
Types of Senior Living for hard-of-hearing adults
Depending on the level of hearing impairment, there are different kinds of senior living for hard-of-hearing adults. Here are some of the options:
- Deaf assisted living facilities
- Deaf independent living facilities
- Deaf skilled nursing facilities and hospice care
- Adult daycare for hard-of-hearing adults
- Home health care and aids
- Veterans housing
Senior Living for Adults with Minor Hearing Loss
For seniors with mild hearing loss, the facilities may provide:
- Telephones and communication devices with amplified audio facility
- Caption-enabled TV shows and movies
- Trained caregivers with clear speech and the ability to use sign language
- On-site audiologists
- Counseling and therapy sessions to better adjust to the environment
- Video conferencing systems
- Socializing activities
Senior Living for Adults with Moderate to Severe Hearing Loss
For seniors with severe hearing loss, the facilities may provide:
- Sign-language interpreters and ASL-fluent staff
- High-intensity alarm systems
- Socialization activities exclusively designed for hard-of-hearing adults
- Awareness of staff and management about deaf culture
- Visual emergency systems
- Audio amplification devices for the entire community area
What Amenities does deaf Senior Living Offer?
Deaf senior living facilities are uniquely designed and equipped with amenities that enable hard-of-hearing seniors to live comfortably. Here are some of the standard amenities deaf senior living offers:
- ASL fluent staff members and interpreters
- Emergency communication and alarm systems
- Events and activities uniquely designed for hard-of-hearing adults
- Audio-visual equipment (e.g., Infrared systems, hearing loops, alert devices. Etc.)
- Deaf-friendly buildings and rooms
- Hearing aids and technological devices to ensure safety (e.g., cochlear implants)
Hearing-impaired Senior Living Average Costs of Care
Senior living for deaf and hearing-impaired costs vary depending on facility location, level of care needed, amenities provided, etc. For example, the annual cost of deaf independent living facilities can be around $42000, while assisted living for deaf seniors can cost $45000. Nursing homes for deaf or skilled nursing facilities are the most expensive, with an annual cost of $85000 approx. Adult daycare centers cost around $18000 while hospices may cost $28000.
However, some financial assistance programs are available if seniors and their families find it challenging to pay for deaf senior living. For example, hospice care for deaf seniors is often covered by Medicare, either partially or fully. Besides, PACE – Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly may provide additional support covering the cost of deaf senior housing. Also, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs may assist eligible retired military veterans with hearing aids and other rehabilitation services.
How to choose a deaf-friendly assisted living facility?
When choosing a deaf-friendly assisted living facility for your elderly loved one, there is a lot to think about. Here are some of the most critical factors you should look into:
- Trained staff: Before choosing a facility, investigate if it has adequate staff trained to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing seniors and provide the necessary care. Also, please pay close attention to their behavior and approach while delivering care to current residents.
- Deaf-friendly architecture: Have a tour of the assisted living and see if they have deaf-friendly buildings and rooms with light-up phones, high strobe lights, carpeted floors, lighted alarm systems, etc.
- Technological factors: Check the availability of advanced specialized tools for better communication. Many deaf senior living provides hearing aids, video communication devices, text phones, vibrating alarms, etc., so that residents can quickly call for help.
Interactive activity options: The availability of engaging activities is a must in deaf-friendly assisted living facilities. They encourage residents to socialize, prevent isolation and fight mental health issues.
Awareness about deaf culture: Understanding deaf culture among facility staff and management is an essential factor when choosing a senior living for deaf and hearing-impaired. Every resident deserves to live with respect and dignity, so care home staff should be educated about the deaf culture.
What to look for when touring senior living for adults with hearing loss
When visiting a deaf assisted living facility, there are several things seniors or their families need to pay attention to. Because these small but crucial factors can determine the quality of life their loved ones will have in the facility. That includes:
- Availability of audio-visual equipment
- Availability of in-house staff fluent in sign language 24/7
- Availability of deaf-friendly social events and activities
- If the buildings and living spaces have a deaf-friendly design
- Availability of alternative alarm systems
- Availability of programs crafted to help seniors adapt to hearing loss
Resources for Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Seniors
There are endless resources for deaf and hard of hearing seniors that can give them the best life possible. Here are some of the helpful links that you may check out:
- The National Institute on Deafness: The National Institute on Deafness has a dedicated page for age-related hearing loss. It has a lot of information and resources for hard-of-hearing seniors.
- Social Security and Disability Resource Center: SSDRC provides a lot of information regarding any form of disability, including hearing loss. It explains how Social Security Disability and SSI work and how to make claims or appeals in simple words.
- National Captioning Institute Website: NCI is a non-profit organization that generates captions, subtitles, and other media access services to help the deaf community participate in auditory or visual communications.
- The National Hearing Test: The National Hearing Test allows AARP members to take a free hearing test. For non-members, the test costs $5.
- Hearing Loss Association of America: The HLAA website has many helpful links for deaf adults. In addition, it includes resources for almost all hard-of-hearing individuals, including seniors.
If you are struggling with finding the right care home for people with hearing disabilities, visit BoomersHub’s assisted living database or reach out to our senior living advisors by calling +(877) 409-0666 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They will work with you to find appropriate senior living for deaf and hard of hearing people. Our services are completely free.
FAQs related to Deaf Senior Living
Tell me the difference between a Deaf Friendly Senior Living Community and a Traditional Community?
While traditional senior living communities also provide services for deaf seniors, deaf-friendly senior living has dedicated caregivers, uniquely designed living arrangements, and advanced technological devices to effectively address the needs of hard-of-hearing older adults. That is the key difference between the two types of senior living.
What is Deaf Assisted Living? How is it Different From “Deaf-Friendly” or Standard Care?
Both deaf assisted living and deaf-friendly assisted living to accommodate older adults with hearing loss. However, deaf assisted living is designed exclusively for deaf seniors, with all the amenities and architecture outlined, keeping their needs in mind.
How to Find Deaf Senior Living Near You?
To find a deaf senior living near you, you will need to do some research. The internet is a great and easy medium to start your research. Once you have shortlisted some options, you can pay a visit and talk to the staff and administration for an in-depth look.