Since dementia and hearing loss have shared symptoms, it can be challenging to determine if your senior loved one’s hearing loss is due to normal aging or a more serious problem.
Without the help of a good doctor, your senior could be misdiagnosed with dementia, or their dementia could go overlooked.
If your senior loved one appears to be showing symptoms of hearing loss, you should have their hearing checked out immediately. If hearing loss is left untreated, it can cause cognitive problems and increase the chances of a senior developing dementia.
For a senior that has already been diagnosed with dementia, hearing loss can make the symptoms of their disease worse. They may already struggle to comprehend or remember specific facts, and not hearing others may only further agitate them.
To slow down the symptoms of a memory disease or reduce the risk of your senior loved one developing dementia, hearing aids can be beneficial. Less damage will be done to the auditory regions of their brain if the senior can hear better.
Whole person wellness can improve your senior loved one’s quality of life and help them age gracefully. This is why the best-assisted living and memory care communities offer wellness programs for their residents. Other benefits of wellness programs include longer and healthier life, active social interaction, and better mental and emotional health.
Rehab In Action
The Kensington Sierra Madre and their community partner HealthPRO Heritage held a virtual event on October 20th, 2021.
In this event, you’ll hear success stories from residents and professionals about the Ageless Abilities Dementia Program and The Kensington’s commitment to care.
Causes of dementia
While Alzheimer’s disease may be one of the most common forms of dementia, many diseases or illnesses can lead to memory loss. Depending on the cause of dementia, some forms may be reversible with treatment.
Damage to the vessels that supply blood to the brain can cause memory loss, strokes and damage the brain’s white matter fibers.
Lewy body dementia
Lewy bodies are abnormal balloon-like clumps of a protein called Alpha-synuclein protein. They are found in the brains of people with this progressive type of dementia.
When there is a breakdown of nerve cells and their connections in the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes, a loss of function occurs in these regions. Seniors will suffer from memory loss and show changes in their behavior, personality, thinking, judgment, and language.
Mixed dementia is common in seniors 80 years old and older. It occurs when their memory loss comes from multiple types of dementia. A senior may start with Alzheimer’s and eventually develop vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia along with it.
This genetic mutation causes certain nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord to waste away. Those with Huntington’s will typically be diagnosed with this disease and show symptoms between the ages 30-50. But diagnoses have been made as young as age 2.
When nerve cell damage causes a drop in the chemical dopamine in the brain, symptoms of Parkinson’s begin to appear. Though, those with memory loss due to Parkinson’s may also have Lewy bodies in their brain, which can lead to memory loss as well.
Hearing loss and dementia
If your senior loved one seems confused during conversations, asks you to repeat yourself often, and feels more tired and stressed than usual, their hearing loss may be getting worse.
As hearing loss worsens, the brain begins to work overtime, and brain shrinkage occurs. As brain shrinkage occurs, it makes the regions that are responsible for auditory response to become inactive.
Struggling to hear takes its toll on a senior’s mental energy and steals the needed brainpower for remembering, thinking, and acting.
If you suspect that your senior is struggling, getting them the proper care is critical. Untreated hearing loss can possibly lead to dementia, as research shows that it changes the brain and its functioning.
When seniors lose their ability to hear and communicate, they are more likely to experience loneliness, worry, become depressed, and develop anxiety and paranoia.
When a senior can benefit from a community setting
A community setting would be most beneficial when a senior can no longer complete daily tasks or live alone safely.
While you or other caregivers may try your hardest to tend to their needs, there will come a time where their needs are too difficult to manage alone.
Due to symptoms such as disorientation, confusion, hallucinations, and paranoia, seniors with dementia and hearing loss can be a danger to themselves.
At a memory care community, your senior loved one receives around-the-clock care and assistance. With compassionate staff and nurses, rehabilitation services, and wellness programs, your senior will live a safer and healthier life.
Another great perk of transitioning your senior to a community setting is their life enrichment activities, dining services, and security.
Benefits for caregivers
As a caregiver, you are likely exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Taking on the caregiver role can be a challenge for even the strongest and most compassionate person.
When your senior loved one requires all of your time and contributes to you quitting your job or needing to cut your hours, transitioning your loved one to a memory care community would benefit you.
Knowing that your senior is in a safe and healthy environment can make you feel better about the move and give them something to look forward to.
Learn more about The Kensington Sierra Madre
The Kensington Sierra Madre is an enhanced assisted living, memory care, Alzheimer’s care, and dementia care community.
Our compassionate staff and nurses provide loving and supportive care to our residents. We offer on-site rehabilitation, several types of therapy, and psychological and psychiatric services.
We know how important it is to you that your senior loved one receives the best care and treatment, which is why it is Our Promise to you to care for your loved one as we would our own.
If you have been a caregiver for a loved one with memory loss, please contact us to learn more about the benefits of transitioning your loved one to our memory care community setting.