I am a Health Wellness Director at a retirement community. A resident asked me how many hours should she socialize to keep her brain active? She is worried because she cannot hear people and is withdrawing from activities.

Hearing aids are the best option. Studies have shown an increase in dementia decline when hearing is severely impaired in those who had good hearing earlier in life. If the nerves for hearing are not continually stimulated then she will lose the ability to hear since the nerves pathways will break down.

Otherwise, I would suggest she have all her meals with others and engage in several activities throughout the day. This may help to stimulate the "hearing ability" she still has.
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Reply to Taarna

Sfound amplifiers are $50 on Amazon.try regular headphones instead of earbuds which tend to go unnoticed when they fall out. Regular hearing aids can easily get lost for being so expensive. Many memory challenged people do no know when a battery has died, nor how to care for them. Plus when memory loss is advanced, the patient may not be able yo be kept on task during testing.
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Reply to MACinCT

Imho, well, the resident's first "line of defense" to combat presbycusis would be to ensure that they wear hearing aids
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Reply to Llamalover47

If she doesn't have a hearing aid, encourage her/her family to look into getting one. My father was very deaf and had had hearing aids previously but hated them. When I got dad VA benes I got him in for new hearing aids. The doc told me that with my father not hearing for so long that some connections between brain and ears get lost and he would probably continue to say what while he processed what was being said. I also believe his deafness contributed more to his dementias. So if she doesn't want to lose those connections, she should look into aids to assist hearing.

To keep her mind active she should involve herself in activities. My mom reads, does jigsaw puzzles, sudoku puzzles, word search puzzles.

Good luck.

Having said that
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Reply to cweissp

I will be 88 and had 22 surgeries and many infections since childhood. It is horrible to lose your hearing. However, I am with it 100% and still work two jobs, finished six years of online college courses two years ago, handle all of my affairs and do all kinds of pleasant things that I love to do. It is impossible to hear what people say so I mostly immerse myself in reading, music, t.v., handling all of my own affairs, and learning all kinds of things on the computer. My memory is better now than it was when I was much younger. I don't know what to tell you in her case because I don't know what she is capable of. It is a bit lonely and I can hear to an extent but not well so I keep myself busy and contented.
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Reply to Riley2166

On trips we had a tour guide that wore a mike so she could speak in a normal tone of voice but we could hear her through our headphones. We do something similar for people in our church for the readings. If she is willing to wear a headset during activities that might help some. Instructions written in large print on white board are helpful to all.
That being said, service projects that involve stuffing a bag for homeless or school supplies, gardening projects, recording life stories. Rock painting. Have a spa day and have people come in paint fingernails or do makeup. Have a crazy hat social, where you have supplies to decorate hats, then have some goodies to eat. Cookie decorating at holidays. Set up a "photo booth" area and use your camera to capture photos for family. Chair exercise class. Card games, bunko. Have a therapy dog come visit. Make organic bird feeders using ears of corn, peanubutter to stick bird seed on( make an assembly line None of the above requires much hearing, and someone could always assist her personally. Get her a hearing buddy among other residents to check in on her.
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Reply to Gracie61

Does she have a hearing aide if not help her find the resources to get at least one which is better than none.

Do things that don't require a lot of explaing like Exercising, Coloring, Puzzles, Painting, games like cards, checkers, Dominos, BINGO and don't forget Cross Word Puzzles.

In fact you could have a game with the Seniors taking turns filling in a Crossword on a big chalk board.


Have a chalk board and write instructions for her to see.

Talk directly in front of her face loud and clear and she'll be able to read your lips a little and hear a little better.

Mare sure you check with Help fir Seniors and Hearing Impairment places to get help and or ideas.
Hope she can get hearing aides, check with her relatives and her Insurance co.
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Reply to bevthegreat

Hearing aid. I got my aunt one but she hated wearing it so she conveniently lost it. If she wants to be able to hear people, then that's the only way to do it. I mean, they could write to her, but who wants to go through that much trouble?
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Reply to Hiimwes

I have been profoundly deaf since birth and am married to a hearing man. The only way for me to socialize with the hearing is through card and board games. They do not require much communication if at all and yet make me feel like a participant.
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Reply to kahill1918

To keep the brain healthy you do not have to increase socialization. It is puzzles and mind games that help keep brain active. Even BINGO helps. Crossword puzzles are great. I kept very large puzzle on the dining room table. When people passed they loved to fit a couple of pieces and then wonder off. Everyone loved to participate. Another game was a child's light up game. You listened to a note that showed up as a light and pressed the button a certain amount of times. It was fun and made for several people
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Reply to JanisLW

Hearing loss is a disability that is overlooked because you don't see it. My husband has had hearing problems for 70 yrs and he is 74. His was caused by an accident as a child that damaged bone behind his ear. This bone makes sounds clearer. He still deals with the insensitivity of people. When he hears it like a static radio that you turn up the volumn so you can differentiate the words.

Just because a person wears a hearing aide doesn't mean they can hear.

It has been shown that hard of hearing/deaf people may have a Dementia at some point in their life. For your resident, she needs to play mind games. Its learning something new that keeps the brain active. Making new pathways. If you brush your teeth with your right hand, switch to your left.

Until she is fitted for hearing aides, socialization will be hard. It will be frustrating. She only has to miss one word and the whole meaning of the sentence changes. Medicare part B pays for an ear exam if warranted by her doctor. An Ear Dr can rule out ear wax or remove it if that is the problem. Hearing aides are not covered by Medicare so will need to check with her suppliment and see if they cover hearing aids and audiologies. If not and she can't afford them, there are affordable devices on the market.
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Reply to JoAnn29

How about helping her get tested by an audiologist and finding out the cause and treatment? Maybe she needs her earwax removed, or a hearing aid, or has a brain tumor, or all of the above. Talk to the medical staff to help her get tested. Do you belong to any professional organizations that provide any advice or training on dealing with the special needs amongst your patient population? I'm very surprised that you would come to this type of forum on how to do your job. What qualifications do you have in this field?
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Reply to vegaslady
GAinPA Jun 6, 2021
Questioning the person’s job qualifications is NOT helpful.
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