May 7, 2017. As a small chapter, we don’t always have the funds to do the outreach and advocacy projects that we would like. So we were thrilled to learn that we were one of the recipients of a New Horizons for Seniors Program grant to help us develop a project that focuses on seniors, who studies show tend to become socially isolated due to hearing loss.
We already know that it’s exhausting and can be both embarrassing and frustrating to constantly ask people to repeat themselves. Going to events such as concerts, church services, parties, can be a nightmare when it’s difficult to understand what is being said. In many instances therefore, it’s easier to stay home, no matter how lonely. Social isolation can lead to other health related issues, including depression.
While there are various solutions, one way forward is education: Hard of hearing people can learn strategies to help them communicate and be able to be active participants in social events and conversations. As well, those who interact with the hard of hearing, including family, friends, and professionals, can learn tips for better communication with the hard of hearing.
While these tips can help anyone who is hard of hearing, this particular project is focusing on seniors. As Brenda Porter, CHHA PEI Vice-President explains: “Our CHHA PEI Chapter has heard officially that we have received a $12,115 federal New Horizons for Seniors Program grant for our proposed project “Pardon, What Did You Say?” – A Guide for Navigating Our Hard of Hearing World. Wonderful news!
Our plan includes producing a user-friendly, large print, and inspirational booklet that will be a valuable tool for those who are hard of hearing and for the people with whom they communicate in their homes and communities. The booklet will include a range of simple tips and strategies for communicating in a variety of settings and also personal experiences that readers can identify with. During Fall 2017 there will be community-based seminars across the island at seniors’ centres, etc. as part of the launch.
Having a hearing disability is a key reason why people, many of whom are seniors, withdraw from social activities in the community and become isolated. This island-wide project is designed to give them, and those with whom they interact, simple strategies for talking with others – both in their homes and in their communities.”
So we are busy with developing this booklet at the moment, and collecting stories, tips, and challenges that have been overcome. Do you have a tip or story to share? Let us know!
© Daria Valkenburg