What’s that you say?

hard-of-hearing1It always surprises me when new information about the aging process comes my way and a previously puzzling situation suddenly makes sense. I call it the “aha” moment. This week’s “aha” moment, which involved my father-in-law, occurred as I read an article titled “Hearing Loss, Undiagnosed and Undertreated,” in a journal called Today’s Geriatric Medicine. I met my husband’s father, Danny, when he was about 65 years old. He was lovely man, a kind soul whom I grew to love dearly. Upon meeting him, the first thing that would strike you about Danny was his love for cigars. He always has a cigar in this mouth. He’d been a cigar smoker for many years. My husband tells me his childhood winters in New Jersey were brutal—not because of the weather, but because the house was sealed tight and cigar smoke filled every room. The other thing that was obvious about Danny was his hearing loss. His speech patterns were off, the volume on his TV set and car radio was very loud, and he hearing...

Advice from the experts

happy hourWhile caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease, my friend Andrea used to host “happy hour” every Wednesday night for friends and neighbors at her Westlake Village home. Andrea’s mom, Fran, attended happy hour too. Fran shared her artwork with visitors and thrived on the interaction with others. Andrea began happy hour to give her mom the gift of socialization. What happened next was a bit of destiny. Frequently during those weekly gatherings, after Fran had gone to the den to rest, topics of caregiving came up. The group of us had rich conversations about the things we never thought we’d be doing for a loved one, the guilt associated with placing a loved one in a facility and the lessons we learned along the way that could be of help to others. It was a special thing Andrea did on many fronts. In the act of helping her mother, she created her own support group. Unintentionally, this group began educating one another on their own insights about caregiving. But Andrea...

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