Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the effects that time has on our bodies? Whether you are entering into your senior years, or you are the child of aging parents, you’ve probably wished you could stop some of the heartbreaking and life-altering results of aging.
Perhaps one of the most tragic conditions that affects many elderly people is dementia. According to the Washington Post, 10% of all Americans who are 65 or older suffer from some form of dementia.
Dementia can have devastating effects on families. According to MayoClinic, a dementia diagnosis can trigger a range of emotions — including anger, fear, frustration and sadness. Dementia can cause confusion and conflict around decisions regarding treatment, care, living arrangements, finances, and end-of-life care.
While there are promising advances in medical research, there is still no “cure” for dementia. However, a new study suggests a small and relatively step that we can take that might help delay dementia diagnoses and the overwhelming life changes that come with them.
According to Reuters, a new U.S. study suggests that hearing aids may actually delay some of the mental and physical forms of health decline associated with hearing loss. According to Reuters, past research has linked prolonged sensory deprivation – such as loss of hearing – with social isolation and cognitive decline (such as dementia). Hearing loss has also been tied to depression, anxiety, and balance trouble with increased risk of falls.
In an interview with Reuters, lead author Dr. Elham Mahmoudi of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor said that the “prevalence of hearing loss is estimated to increase as our population grows older, and we know there are strong associations between uncorrected hearing loss and conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.” Mahmoudi and his team have made observations studying 114,862 people age 66 and older who struggle with hearing loss.
According to the study reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, among people who’d been diagnosed with hearing loss, those who used hearing aids were up to 18% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, depression or fall-related injuries over the next three years, compared to people not using the devices.
More than 27 million older Americans live with hearing loss, reports Reuters, but unfortunately, only 12.3% of those with a formal diagnosis get hearing aids.
While everyone in the above study had health insurance, hearing aids are typically only partly covered by insurance, or not covered at all. This leads to the cost falling on the individual, a burden many families can’t afford to carry. On average, hearing aids cost between $2,000 and $7,000. “We not only need to advocate for insurance coverage for hearing aids, but also educate the public about the risks of uncorrected hearing loss,” Mahmoudi said to Reuters.
Hearing aids are expensive, Dr. Linda McEvoy of the University of California, San Diego told Reuters, but “the costs of the conditions they could prevent or delay are substantially more expensive.”
What’s Next for You and Your Loved Ones?
Getting a hearing aid for yourself or a loved one is a fairly straightforward step towards a better quality of life. With the high cost of hearing aids, you might want to look into how Medicaid could cover the payment. Yet as we age, there are seemingly endless steps that need to be taken. Even before you reach your senior years, you’ll want to secure a detailed and well-constructed legal will in your estate planning. You’ll want to name your beneficiaries who will receive your estate when you pass on. You’ll want to secure the best possible medical care and living arrangements. All of this is a lot of work that requires legal knowledge and clear information. To make matters more complicated, sometimes legal issues arise that threaten the success of carrying out your desires for this season of your life and for your estate and loved ones after you are gone.
As a compassionate and efficient elder law firm, we are here to help make the legal matters of this stage of your life as simple and stress-free as possible. Whether you want help planning your estate, applying for Medicaid, or understanding your veteran’s benefits, we are your reliable legal team! Or maybe your loved one has recently passed away and you need caring, understanding assistance with the probate process? We’re here for that too. With offices across the Treasure Coast of Florida, and a reputation for outstanding service, we are your solution for convenient and competent legal care. Are you facing a legal question or challenge in Vero Beach, Florida? Contact our Vero Beach office at 772-410-5156 or by messaging us online. Serving Treasure Coast seniors and those who love them.
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