Help Aging Parents: Lifting and Energizing Spirits With Gifts Appealing to the 5 Senses-part 4


Most of us with elderly parents realize there’s often age-related diminishing of 2 senses: hearing and vision. It seems to me that hearing loss doesn’t seem as scary as vision loss, possibly because technology can pretty much alleviate the hearing problem for most. Yet the hearing problem remains because so many older people balk at doing anything about it.

That said, music lifts everyone’s spirit whether: 1. CD’s or 2. old fashion tapes with 3. simple technology to play them on and 4. possibly excellent quality headphones to enhance hearing– these are lasting and valued gifts for elderly music lovers at home or in care centers.

While today’s cars lack the tape decks of not-long-ago (possibly a good reason NOT to get an aging parent a new car), I know my father gravitated towards music from his younger years. Upon his death I found tapes in his car of the Ink Spots (would that be a pc group name today?), Bobby Darin, Mario Lanza and various others from the 40’s and 50’s.  And he had a tape recorder in the house.

I remember going to a shop specializing in older music to get a recording of “Mack the Knife” just a few days before Dad’s death. The variety of music available is impressive. I would think some aging parents might enjoy the “sounds of nature” recordings. Check the options.

Think entertainment and stimulation that can lift spirits and audio books come to mind–often on long drives.  Audio books can also transport care center patients outside themselves and into the world of the novel, mystery, far-away places, wherever–as long as the technology is available for listening.

What about a good quality, easy to operate radio? An older friend’s legally blind mother, with a good mind but a nursing-home-care physical condition, listened daily to NPR and any news she could find until she died at 107. (She voted in every election until the year she died.) The radio was her window to the outside world. Of course one needn’t be legally blind to value radio, but one needs to have decent hearing–or a headset that can enhance hearing.

Consider a double-duty technology gift for those whose hearing is greatly diminished, should wear hearing aids, but don’t….and turn up the TV volume so loud it annoys everyone around…including you? Carefully check out assistive TV listening systems technology.

And tickets to performances or sporting events that are equipped with the new technology that enhances hearing will some day be everyday options that should clearly energize and lift spirits. (See “Resources).

“Hearing is the last to go.” I heard this in the hospital when Mother was seemingly in a coma and dying and they were cautioning people to be careful of what they were saying. Remembering this, although Dad seemed to be sleeping most of the day at the end of his life, I rushed out to get music I knew he enjoyed.  And that’s the reason I went out to get “Mack the Knife” for Dad at the end of his life….in case anyone was wondering.

“Happy Music, Healthy Heart” University of Maryland, School of Medicine research via MORE magazine on-line 9/18/12. Click healthy tip #12

Loop logo–better hearing

“New Technology for Hearing Impaired in Performance Venues” April 2012 courtesy of a Washington Post article via (Florida).  Boston Symphony Orchestra event using the telecoil loop.

Check out this amazing demonstration of the hearing loop’s effectiveness: features the Medical Director of the Ear Institute at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (highly ranked in US News)

….Saturday concludes with “Vision”

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