Social distancing has magnified problems for people with severe hearing loss
By Dwight Maxa, HLAA-TC Board Member
(Originally published in our May 2020 newsletter)
Standing 6 feet or more from the person you are trying to communicate with isn’t easy for many of us. I ended up with a very strange pizza the other day because of what I thought I heard when ordering from the drive-thru at the approved distance.
Older people with severe hearing loss are also among those with the highest risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and should be the most vigilant about social distancing and yet they are at the most risk of social isolation and loneliness. That raises the question of how to stay connected and centered as we practice social distancing. Being a person that likes plans and check lists, here are some ideas, new and old that may help:
1. Develop a plan to stay in regular touch with friends, family and neighbors. The plan should also, confirm ways to communicate and how to get help if you need medical supplies, food or other items.
2. Remain socially connected through regular phone calls, video calls, texting, email, and talk to your family and friends about how you are feeling.
3. Offer help to a neighbor or someone who you know is alone and who you think may eventually need help.
4. Make a list of community organizations that can help with socialization and information.
5. Take a break from TV media news and read something that is not online.
6. Get one or two good laughs in every day.
7. Spend a good deal of time outside every day and get your heart rate up while you’re at it. It’s the best thing you can do for your mental health.
8. Do one thing daily just because you want to. Do one thing you’ll be glad you did later.
9. Practice being mindful in a spiritual, sensory, visual, and auditory way at least once a day.
10. Tend to something that is growing. Your hair doesn’t count!
COVID-19 is testing the bonds that connect us all. Reaching out to friends, family, and others can help protect us from this virus, as well as social isolation and loneliness.
As always, if you have something you would like to see featured in an upcoming blog, please comment on this blog post or connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn. Stay safe. Stay healthy. And stay informed.