What are some devices my 92-year-old-mother with profound hearing loss could use?

Asked by

My mother is assisted living which apparently has no assistive devices for residents who are hard of hearing. She has hearing aids, but they tell me she can't hear the fire alarm, I find this hard to believe. Anyway I have a bedshaker on her bed, a flasher that goes off when the fire alarm goes off. What other types of thing can I get that can help in this situation?

Otherwise, she can't remain at the assisted living facility. And I cannot take her in and she cannot afford a nursing home, nor does she need to be in one. So any devices that people know of that could help would be greatly appreciated.

Answers 1 to 10 of 15
Logan, my Dad lived in Assisted Living, and good grief when that fire alarm bell would go off in his room, I am surprised there aren't any heart attacks. There is also a built-in bright flashing light. Dad knew what to do. Got his walker, his wallet, and out the apartment door he went, he was hoping to see fire trucks and other emergency equipment. He was disappointed when it was only a drill.

Now, the Aides would run to the other rooms to get residents who were either hard of hearing or needed help walking. I am really surprised your Mom's Assisted Living doesn't take that into consideration since so many elders are now hard of hearing.

I really think this should be the facility's issue, not your mother's.
Hi Freqflyer, exactly about checking on those who need help but apparently that is not part of their assisted living services...this is a place that can't even pick them up if they fall. They are required to call a rescue if that happens. Not sure what I am paying for other than 3 meals a day and her towels being changed daily and the sheets being changed.

Thanks for your help.
I would review the contract to see if it addresses this issue, although I suspect if there is a provision, it's a general one in terms of providing safety and security.

You could contact various other ALs on the pretext of interviewing them for a potential placement, and ask them how they handle this issue.

You could also contact the local fire department and ask if they have any suggestions, since this could be a safety issue.

I'm glad you raised this issue; although I'm not looking for an AL facility now, I keep lists of things to check out and this would be one.

Could your mother get out when the flasher activates, and in the event of a real fire?
Top Answer
This sounds more like an Independent Living place that offers a la cart services rather than a true Assisted Living facility, unfortunately the business model for both of them seems to be to promise more than they can really deliver just to get people in the door. In my opinion a true AL should be able to accommodate those who need assistance but are not quite in need of the skilled nursing services available at a Nursing Home
I think cwillie has the right idea. I don't think that your mom is in the right assisted living facility if they will not provide for mom's basic safety. Where is the assistance?! I think I would check into other assisted living facilities and compare services.
Logan, did the facility not know about mom's hearing loss when they accepted her?

I think I might call the State Ombudsman to find out about state regs regarding this issue.

Has mom settled In? Last time you wrote she'd just been diagnosed with a UTI.
Thanks everyone. GardenArtist, yes she can get out if the devices work, which hers do. And you are right the provision is general about personal safety. I am glad you are taking notes because I sure learned a lot throughout this process! 

You are right Cwillie! they do call themselves and Assisted Living Facility and there are a lot of things that are a la carte. I do feel like they make it sound like they are there to help and have 24 hour nursing staff on duty and call buttons, but they don't help anyone?? So there is an independent living section in the facility, she's not in that part. I do feel a little duped here. Nothing in the paperwork that they can't help people up etc, this is a rule of theirs...I am starting to wonder if they collect their 1 time activity fee and keep people there for a few months then push them out for one reason or another. I've seen a few people move out since she's been there and I wondered why.

Barb, they did a complete evaluation of her before she was allowed to move in and after, they were completely aware of her hearing issues. So that makes me even more upset. I don't think there is a state regulation about this issue, these are their rules. She has been doing much better, thanks for asking. After the UTI cleared up she was making friends and has a better attitude for sure.

I googled AL facilities that are geared to help people who are hard of hearing and guess what?? I found one in another state that is owned by the same company that owns the AL she lives in! So I told them today and they are going to call them for some advice.

But I don't have a lot of hope as they want to meet with me tomorrow. So I assume they are going to say she can't stay.  I just don't understand how there aren't more places, or how AL doesn't take hearing issues into considerations as a lot of people her age have this issue. 

Has anyone else had this issue? I will call some other facilities to see if they can accommodate people with hearing issues.

Just wanted to note, I did compare services before moving her there. The issue is I don't think they were up front about the 24hr staff and what they really did/did not provide. I think a lot of these places do it that way intentionally.
Logan, I've often wondered how much support AL facilities really give their residents, but have gradually realized that some either provide a la carte services, with each services priced and billed, or they rely on in house private duty agencies. FF has experience with this; she had private duty staff caring for her father in AL.
GardenArtist, that is an interesting solution. The only service I am paying for now for help with showering. Other than that I manage her pill case, she just has to take them everyday which she does do.

I just don't know how to solve for the hearing situation. I may try to contact the fire department as you recommended or a hearing loss association as she just can't be the only one with this issue in the entire state.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support