Visiting elderly who cannot hear

by Brent
(near Houston, TX)

i am struggling with how to be more effective in ministering to a few of the elderly people in my congregation who cannot hear very well. They don't know sign language. They expect me to visit and talk with them, but their hearing aids don't work well enough or they just don't use them (they can't afford better ones). Yet, i still feel obligated to try to visit with them at least once in awhile. Are there some creative ideas out there that others know? Should i take a small whiteboard tablet?

Comments for Visiting elderly who cannot hear

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Deafness is isolating
by: Bookworm

Deafness is one of the most horrible disabilities. People can imagine being blind, they can imagine not being able to walk, or not being able to talk but they often think that deafness doesn't really stop you do anything you want apart from things like listening to music.

In actual fact deafness is isolating. It cuts you off from people. You can see everything but understand very little. Imagine being in a room full of people chatting and you can't hear a single one of them...

Your attitude of wanting to still visit is good. A smile works wonders and as someone else has said, make sure you face the person when talking to them. Speak slowly (but not ridiculously slowly). Take things with you that focus the conversation - such a recent photo of your family, or holiday pictures, or a card from someone. It's easier for deaf people to work out what is being said when they know the subject matter or context of the conversation.

HUGS AND SMILES are big communicators.

Hard of hearing
by: Anonymous

I know that for awhile we had the same problem at our church where we had people hard of hearing that couldn't hear very well or not at all. Since we use a audio system the church purchased wireless headphones that are linked into the audio system. This allows those that have trouble hearing to hear the sermons and adjust the volume as needed.

Ask Open Ended Questions
by: Rev. Dr. Karl Galik

My hard of hearing mother-in-law lives with us, so I speak from personal, daily experience when I offer these tips.

1.) Face them directly on, speak slowly with lots of hand gestures

2.) Ask open-ended questions that get them talking and create a familiar context into which they can add familiar stories

3.) Seek their opinion so they feel a sense of participation in a world in which they generally feel isolated.

4.) Love them...

Rev. Dr. Karl Galik
KarlGalik.com

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