Accepting the Help of Caregivers as Dementia Worsens
This is such a personal blog—not that ALL of the past 87 blogs haven’t been. But, this one will touch many people, not just those of us with some form of dementia.
It probably started years ago. I had to turn up the TV. As time passed, it had to be louder still. My husband began to mumble (he didn’t really but that was how I perceived it.) I began to hear a motor sound in my head; eventually, over time, I learned to overlook this. Then, the music we listen to while going to sleep became unintelligible…
My short term memory loss helped me overlook these problems. My husband insisted that I get my hearing checked. When I finally went to the audiologist, he asked me many questions. Among them were:
- Do I have trouble hearing the telephone ring? …I didn’t know, couldn’t remember. Besides, if you don’t hear it, how do you know you didn’t hear it except for someone telling you?
- Do I have any ringing or other noises in my ears? …I didn’t know, couldn’t remember. I had learned to tune it out. During the actual hearing test, though, I realized that I definitely do have a hum ringing in my ears. Even now, I can hear the hum in my head, even over the TV.
I can’t remember the other questions, but I do remember not being able to answer most questions. This can be a problem with all my doctor visits, which means that even someone with a milder or earlier dementia should have a loved one or caregiver go with them to doctor visits. The second person can help fill in the blanks, thus providing a more comprehensive picture of the patient’s condition at that time. This is easier said than done; for people like me whose husband is still working, taking off every time I go to the doctor is not an option. So, I know, though my advice is good, it’s not always practical!
By now, you probably realize my “private issue”. I have been diagnosed with a moderate hearing loss and am getting hearing aids. I can’t believe the cost of good hearing aids! It seems that I had my choice of hearing aids which ran from $3,000 to $7,000. What I chose depended on my degree of activity. If my day consisted of watching some TV and maybe going out to eat a few times per week, I could have opted for the least expensive. For those who are active, teaching classes, volunteering, going out often, being socially engaged, the more expensive hearing aids were suggested. At this point, I had to opt for the best. In five years (which is the lifetime of an average hearing aid), I hope to be less active and can then buy a lesser expensive type.
I’m not unhappy about getting hearing aids, though I know some who would be. I believe that God has provided people who invented and build such things to help make our lives better. I feel lucky to have the opportunity and ability to get hearing aids. I don’t take it personally, like I’m getting old. BOO HOO HOO….Woe is me… Nope. As a matter of fact, if I could afford plastic surgery, I’d be getting a facelift!! I feel so fortunate to have lived 61 years (as of July 1st) when so many wonderful, wonderful people have never made it this far. Dementia and diabetes have not gotten me down—neither will a loss of hearing!
For anyone with dementia, it is very important to keep all your faculties workingas well as possible. We take in information using our five senses. When one of these is not working correctly, it has a big impact on our lives. It is important to do all one can to keep them working correctly. Get glasses. Get hearing aids. Stay active and socially engaged. Your life will continue to be enriched by all your relationships and activities!