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As you age you may have noticed a decrease in your ability to hear. While you probably blame it on age there may be several other reasons why your hearing is not what it used to be. Some hearing loss can be permanent while others can be reversible depending on the severity of the hearing loss and the cause of it as well. Because hearing loss happens gradually you may not realize that you have a problem until it is too late to reverse the affects.
At first you may have family members who let you know that they have been calling out your name but you never answered them. It may be that you are sitting around the table with family and you cannot hear what someone is saying to you. Maybe you like watching the best football game on your television but you keep turning up the volume on it because you can’t hear. The rest of the family tells you to turn it down because it is too loud. Little signs like this make you realize that you may have a problem. Eventually you may notice a constant ringing in your ear or a roar, hiss or a constant buzzing sound. If you have ear pain or fluid that seems to come from the ears you may probably go to the doctor only to discover that you are losing your hearing.
There are several tests that a doctor may decide to use in order to rule out certain conditions. Your doctor may perform a physical exam, tuning fork test, or other hearing tests to help him or her determine how much hearing you have already lost and to try to find out the cost. The good news after your visit is that you will probably be fitted for a hearing aid device. These small devices fit snuggly in the ear and can help you hear everything clearly again. You will be able to hear clearly after turning your hearing aid on.
There are certain things that you can do in order to save your hearing as long as you can. Wear ear muffs when you are exposed to noises that are loud. If you work around loud noises you may want to find a comfortable pair of earplugs that are customized to fit into your ear and prevent loud noises from directly hitting your ear drum.
Try to walk away from the loud noises as much as possible in order to give your ear drums a break. Although this may be hard to do when you are working its beneficial if you take advantage of every break you have.
Report any changes in your hearing that you notice as soon as possible. Your doctor may have other treatments that they want to try in order to save your hearing. Always remember to protect your ears whenever possible and understand how important your hearing is. It can deteriorate fast if you do not take care and precaution to save what hearing you have now.
Depression in seniors can be hard to understand but it does exist. As people get older they find that the kids don’t need them like they use to, their careers are now replaced with retirement, and all that time that they have free now is filled with empty days and nights. At first it may be exciting to have all that free time but it soon wears down a person inside, especially if they are used to the everyday pace of life.
Understanding depression is very important for anyone working or living with seniors. Everyone becomes sad or lonely sometimes, this is normal. But when someone is depressed it goes much deeper than the normal sadness even you may experience. When someone is truly depressed they experience such symptoms as their normal activity, physical being and appearance, their way of thinking, or their behavior. Depression can cause muscle aches that won’t go away, loss of interest in activities that they normally enjoy, and the feeling of being empty.
Depression shouldn’t be diagnosed right away due to the fact that the person may not be suffering from depression and just has a simple case of the blues. But for those who experience any of the following symptoms for more than a couple of weeks should see their doctor.
• Feeling empty
• No interest in what usually makes them happy
• Trouble sleeping
• Feeling of not being worthy
• Feeling overwhelmed, guilty, or helpless
• Crying uncontrollably
• Aches and pains that keep reoccurring after seeing a doctor
• Unable to tolerate being around people
• Either thoughts of suicide or actually attempting suicide
It’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible to diagnose depression and to find out how you can live with the symptoms. You can also improve the condition or completely overcome depression with the help of a professional. Originally your family physician can see you and recommend treatment or even refer you to a professional that can help with depression.
It’s important to find out what is causing your depression and that will be the goal of the professional. If you are already taking medication one of the side effects of some medication is depression so your doctor may simply need to change your medication. Other people may be depressed due to their current financial status, friends or family problems, a death in the family or of a friend, and more. Once your doctor finds out the cause of your depression you can face the problem head on and conquer it. Results cannot normally be felt immediately but it will happen.
Seniors with depression will normally turn away from family or friends who want to help. But that is because they want to be left alone. As a caregiver it is important to be patient and stay with them even when they don’t necessarily want you to. Your persistence will pay off. Depression can affect everyone around you but only you can stop it.
There are several ways to make your senior parent safe in their own home. Because most accidents happen in the home it may be some time before the senior can get help if they need it. Most accidents in the home is a fall. It may be in the bathtub, on steps or stairs, doing normal household chores, or going outside to rake leaves, shovel snow, checking their mail, or more. Accidents can happen quickly and if you are taking care of your senior parent you will want to feel good about leaving them at home where they want to be. One fall can put them in a eldercare facility without planning for it. Most seniors wish to stay home as long as they possibly can. Here are a few safety features that you can take care of to help them meet their goal.
Cords are easy to trip on and it is important to make sure that all cords are hidden and unable to trip anyone who walks across the floor. Most people will hide their cords under throw rugs and mats but eventually they may pull away from the electrical sockets. If they don’t fall out completely this may be dangerous to those who are there in the home. Always check the cords frequently and re-route any cords that seem to come out of the electrical socket easily. If furniture sits on cords it may become a hazard as the wear causes the cords to become frail. No cord should run under furniture, carpet, or exposed in the middle of the floor.
Replace all light bulbs that are no longer working. Make sure that there is enough lighting in every room. There should never be any dark areas in the home so they can always see their steps.
Heating is another dangerous hazard in the home. Without proper heating, homeowners may decide to supplement their main heat source with space heaters, Kerosene heaters, or wood stoves. This can be dangerous if they are not properly taken care of. Try using portable electrical radiator heaters that can be turned on and left for a long period of time without danger. Placing one in each room can make the home nice and warm and provide an even heat.
Check all smoke detectors in the home. If there are no smoke detectors make sure you install at least one on each level of the home. You can also purchase carbon monoxide detectors to alarm if any dangerous gases are in the home, allowing your parent to get help and escape in time. Always make sure that there is a smoke detector near the bedroom so it can warn anyone in the house who may be sleeping. Check the batteries in the smoke detector once every three months. Never leave a smoke detector in non working order.
Place a phone in every room of the house or make sure that a portable phone is carried around at all times. This will help in getting assistance if an accident does occur.