This is one of my most favorite quotes from when I met Art Linkletter and heard him speak. I’ve quoted it many times to patients over the years since I started fitting hearings aids in 1975. And boils down to this: getting old requires having a spirit to participate in life. When you’re young it comes naturally. When you’re old, you have to work at it. But then everything is harder when you’re old.
One of the most challenging aspects of life is trying to remain independent as you age. When you take someone’s independence, you’re taking away something of who they think they are. For example, tell someone who drives that they can’t drive anymore and you’ll see a tremendous change in who they think are, what they think they can do and what they might accomplish in life. I’ve experienced this with thousands of patients.
But many times I get to be a part of the solution because our work reverses one of the effects of aging, hearing loss. And when the fit and acoustics are just right, you can watch the physical change of youth in a patient’s appearance. The vibrancy immediately washes over them when they realize that they can hear and understand. I think it’s a forgotten sensation. They regain independence; they regain a sense of who they were. A brightness and a confidence comes back. They realize,” It’s not me, it’s just my hearing.” I can’t tell you how many people have come to me thinking they were in the early stages of dementia and all it was…was a hearing loss. And they “got cured” overnight.
Top Ten Fears of Older Adults
- Loss of Independence
- Declining health
- Running out of money
- Not being able to live at home
- Death of a spouse or other family member
- Inability to manage daily living
- Not being able to drive
- Isolation and loneliness
- Strangers caring for them
- Fear of falling