Turkey Time is Family Time

Many of us will be gathering this week with extended family members and friends.  It is a great time of year and a wonderful time to reflect on the many blessings we have, even the opportunity to re-connect with our loved ones.  I am always surprised by how much change occurs in our younger family members.  They are always taller.  They are more active.  They are either saying more words, developing new skills, learning more in school, or maturing into young adulthood in countless ways! 

I also am surprised by how time has impacted our older family members.  Sometimes 6 months or 12 months yields measurable change for them as well.  Their gait may be slower, their balance uncoordinated, their energy diminished.  Sometimes these changes are not as apparent to us on the phone, but when we spend a few hours together our understanding is enlightened. 

Change is natural and a part of the life cycle.  Most of us fight the aging process as much as we can.  When you are visiting with your loved ones this week, engage your senior members in conversation.  Are they have difficulty communicating in a group setting?  Do they misinterpret information?  Can they recall recent events from yesterday or last week?

Recent studies by Lin and colleagues at Johns Hopkins have linked hearing loss with cognitive decline and dementia.  The University of North Texas is studying the effect of amplification for hearing loss as part of a treatment program for dementia.  Several studies have linked the effects of untreated hearing loss on quality of life including social isolation, anxiety, depression, and diminished earning potential.  Please help keep your family members active and in the loop.  Encourage them to have a professional consultation with their audiologist!

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