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Deaf Seniors Seek a Retirement Home of Their Own

By Diane C. Lade, SunSentinel 4/26/2013

Like many baby boomers, June McMahon has been thinking about a retirement move and touring South Florida senior communities.

She and her friends check out the activities offered, how the apartments are set up, if there is an on-site nurse. But their research so far has yielded few choices.

That's because this informal search committee is from the Florida Association of the Deaf — severely hearing impaired seniors who are looking for accessible housing that will suit them and others like them.

"We asked several places, when we called to schedule a visit, if they would provide an interpreter for our tour," said McMahon, 60, a retired teacher for the deaf from Boynton Beach and the Florida association's president. "They said no. So we just stopped right there."

Most retirements communities, assisted living centers or nursing homes say they can't meet all the needs of the "signing" deaf, most of whom were born with their disability or lost their hearing before they learned to talk and are dependent on American Sign Language. But two South Florida senior communities are hoping to change that.

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