Hearing problems can strike at any age. However, 25% of seniors suffer from some form of hearing problem between the ages of 65-74. By age 75, almost 50% of the aging population suffers from hearing loss, according to the Institute of Deafness and Other Communications Disorders. If your parent or aging loved one is wholly or partially deaf, you likely understand how challenging their daily lives can be.
Once routine activities like driving, taking walks and running errands can present a number of dangers. Furthermore, many seniors also have trouble communicating due to hearing loss, which may have you further concerned about their wellbeing without assistance. If so, you’re not alone. If you’re looking into deaf senior living options for your loved one to give you peace of mind, read on to know what to look for in deaf-friendly living facilities.
Deaf-Friendly Living Options for Seniors and Average Costs of Care
There are several types of deaf-friendly living communities for seniors that offer services ranging from part-time to full-time care for the hearing disabled. The ultimate cost of care will depend on the facility’s location, the level of care provided and any special considerations that your loved one requires. Costs listed are national yearly averages from 2017 and can vary widely. Care options for the deaf and hearing disabled include:
Deaf Independent Living Communities— $42,000
Deaf Assisted Living Facilities—$45,000
Deaf Skilled Nursing Centers—$82,855
Hospice Care for the Deaf—$28,500 but is often covered in full for certain individuals.
Adult Day Care for the Hearing Challenged—$17,750 (250 work days / yr.)
Veterans Housing for Seniors—Price varies depending on benefits, grant status, etc.
Home Health Aides/Personal Home Care Aides—$42,000 (250 work days / yr.)
There are many ways that you or your loved one can pay for elder care expenses, which we’ll cover shortly. First, let’s discuss exactly what you should look for in deaf-friendly living facilities or in-home elder care providers.
What To Look for When Choosing a Deaf-Friendly Senior Living Community
Before you even begin looking, it’s essential to get your loved one’s input concerning the type of care they’d prefer. Seniors who are still moderately independent may prefer to stay at home and opt for in-home care. Some individuals with hearing loss or total deafness may prefer to be in a specialized facility that caters to the deaf, while others may be more partial to a mixed group amid their future community.
Those seeking home care likely already have the communication equipment in place and know just the kind of caregiver they need. However, choosing a deaf living community can be more challenging. Personally tour every potential facility and discuss these key essentials of a good deaf-friendly senior community.
Awareness and Staff Training
What skills sets and special training do staff members have concerning the special needs of the hearing disabled? Is there a professional sign language interpreter on duty at all times? How many of the staff members understand basic sign skills or know how to use a communication board? Essentially, you want to know how well they address the challenges of surpassing linguistic barriers for the deaf and hearing challenged.
Deaf-Friendly Buildings and Rooms
Inquire whether the facility’s sleeping quarters and common areas feature light up emergency alarms, doorbells and phones. Is there an alternative alarm that will vibrate beds or activate high-powered strobe lights for sleeping patients in case of an emergency? These features are must-haves in any facility or private home with deaf or hearing challenged residents.
Technology for Hearing Challenged Seniors
Today there is a wide range of modern technology that makes it easier than ever for seniors to rise above deafness or hearing challenges when it comes to communicating with others. TTY/TDD communication equipment allows residents to participate in phone and video calls with closed captioning and smart televisions. Are rooms wired for these features and is there assistive listening equipment that puts seniors in touch with staff right away?
Engaging Activities for the Hearing Impaired
If the facility houses both hearing impaired and traditional residents, are there still social activities and engagements designed to empower the deaf community members by having sign language interpreters or TDD options? Make sure your loved one won’t feel left out of events, games and social gatherings due to their impairment.
Paying for Deaf Assisted Living
There are many ways in which families and seniors can opt to pay for deaf senior care. Those with assets to sell or retirement accounts may choose to cash out before moving into a care facility. Others may have a nest egg put aside for this purpose. However, those without such options can consider these methods of covering elder care expenses for a deaf loved one.
- Medicare Coverage: Medicare only covers any medical expenses related to elder care but none related to boarding and personal needs. However, there is a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) that’s a partnership between Medicare and Medicaid that may offer financial assistance for the hearing disabled.
- State Sponsored Medicaid: Those with limited financial means may qualify for state-funded Medicaid benefits that typically cover partial or full senior care related expenses for the deaf. Medicaid gives seniors the option of either in-home or facility care centers.
- Health Insurance and Long-Term Care Insurance: Certain health insurance policies may cover some or all of deaf assisted living expenses. However, the best bet lies in having a supplemental long-term care insurance that is designed to cover such expenses for the elderly.
- Veterans Benefits: There are veteran’s senior care facilities in many major cities, and most offer services for the hearing challenged. However, your benefits also give you options for in-home care if you qualify for assisted living or nursing home coverage.
- Grants: Grands for deaf-friendly elder care are out there. A great resources to find these benefits is The National Association of the Deaf.
- Self-Payment Options: Seniors with savings or family members willing to chip in for expenses may opt for self-pay after exhausting the above options.
Looking for Deaf Assisted Living Options?
Take a look at our extensive Senior Living Database to explore elder care facilities near you with the features, care level and amenities best suited for your loved one.