|Deaf-Blind Awareness Week – The Last Week of June 2011
Few are aware that today, due to the aging process, people 55 years of age and older – including many “Baby Boomers,” are the largest growing group experiencing both vision and hearing loss. Because of this increase, there is a greater need for additional supports and services to this community as well as to their caregivers. Many in this group are working, have active lifestyles, and don’t think of themselves as “deaf-blind.” However, their decreasing vision and hearing losses make certain adjustments necessary to continue to lead an active and independent life.
The term “deaf-blind” encompasses many variations of combined hearing and vision loss – from those who are hard of hearing and visually impaired to those who are totally deaf and totally blind. The most common causes of vision loss in older adults are cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetes/diabetic retinopathy. If an older adult experiences a loss of vision along with a mild, moderate, severe or even profound hearing loss, the results can be devastating to the person, their families, and their caregivers. Today, it is estimated that more than a million people in the United States are deaf-blind and those numbers are growing steadily.
To develop a greater understanding of the abilities and needs of senior adults who are losing sight and sound, HKNC’s senior adult specialist provides information, resources, and training opportunities to consumers, families, and professionals nationwide. The HKNC Confident Living Program works with seniors to enhance their communication and independent living skills. Information on self-advocacy, elder law, community integration, emergency preparedness, new technology, and more are provided through this program – all designed to enhance the independence and quality of life for senior adults.