Hearing Loss Resources
Hearing loss is something that many older adults experience. Most insurance plans do not cover the cost of hearing aids and equipment can range in cost from a couple hundred up to several thousand dollars. The price tag may prevent individuals from getting the help they need to hear, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Katie Prins, Executive Director at Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), says advances in technology have increased the options for those who do not have the means to purchase hearing aids.
Prins recommends looking into the following products, if you are unable to afford hearing aids:
- Pocket talkers. These are readily available and often resemble headphones and a portable speaker. The speaker portion takes sounds and feeds it through to the headphones, often allowing individuals to adjust volume as needed.
- Amplifiers for phones and televisions. These can be connected to specific devices and increase the volume just for the item it is attached too. This can be helpful for those who have difficulty hearing the phone or television.
- Modified smoke alarms or doorbells. Safety is a number one concern for those with hearing loss. Many safety devices (like smoke alarms) only use sound. However there are modified versions that use both light and sound to alert individuals of smoke or fire and they can be easily installed.
Hearing aids are still the most common choice for those with hearing concerns. Prins recommends that no matter how much you are spending on these devices, you should always be cautious.
Take the following steps when purchasing hearing aids:
- Talk with your doctor. Have a conversation with your doctor first about your hearing concerns. He can recommend you to an audiologist.
- Ask questions. This is new territory for many people so the terms used and the results after an audiological test may be confusing. Ask question to make sure you understand the information you are given.
- Do your research. Unfortunately (like with many high priced items) there are individuals and companies that have questionable sales tactics or misrepresent the truth when it comes to product features or individual needs. Doing your research (on the company and the product) before you purchase anything can help prevent you from making a costly mistake.
- Find out what the price includes. Some companies may offer warranties or fittings in with the cost of the hearing aid while others don’t. Being armed with this information can help you make a decision that’s best for you.
- Schedule an appointment with DHHS staff. DHHS staff can meet with individuals one-on-one to help determine hearing changes and identify equipment that best fits an individual’s needs.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) works with individuals of all ages to help with hearing concerns. They offer support groups and one-on-one assistance as well as classes and events for those with a hearing loss.
“No matter the age, someone dealing with hearing loss often struggles with feelings of isolation or depression while adjusting to these changes. This can be a very difficult time and often just admitting a hearing loss can be a struggle. It is essential that friends and family members are sensitive to this and provide a supportive environment.”
The Kent County Senior Millage provides funding to DHHS for programs such as rehabilitation for activities of daily living (related to hearing loss), group education on adjusting to a hearing loss and lip reading classes. Assistance is also available to help individuals find devices, equipment and other resources to adjust to hearing loss. The services are open to Kent County residents age 60 and over. Depending on income, individuals may be asked to pay part of the cost.
For more information on services for those with hearing loss, contact Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at (616) 732-7358 or www.deafhhs.org.
For more information on other services for older adults and caregivers, contact the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan at (616) 456-5664, check out the rest of our website or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AreaAgencyOnAging
When is there too much stuff-training on hoarding
Hoarding has gotten a lot of attention lately as reality TV shows bring viewers into the homes of people who are hoarding. Often there are deeper issues than a mere attachment to things and it those concerns must be dealt with.
“When is there too much stuff? –Older Adult Hoarders and Safety Issues" brings in local experts to discuss the psychology involved as well as practical steps to take when dealing with an older adult who is hoarding. Experts from the Health Department, Animal Control, Adult Protective Services and the Grand Rapids Fire Department will educate professionals on how best to handle these situations to get individuals the help they need.
Training will take place Thursday, June 21, 2012 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Registration required by June 15, 2012. For more information click here. Email email@example.com with questions. (Training is complimentary for Kent County Senior Millage Providers; otherwise there is a $5.00 fee for other attendees)
It's a Senior Open House and You're Invited!
Ever wonder how your tax dollars help your neighbors? Want to learn about services for seniors in Kent County? The Kent County Senior Millage is hosting an Open House to give the community a chance to learn more about the 46 different services provided for older adults.
On Friday, July 22, 2011, 31 Senior Millage providers will be on hand to answer questions and explain their services in an open house format at the Wyoming Senior Center (WSC) located at 2380 DeHoop Ave SW, Wyoming. The event will run from 9:30 a.m.until 12:00 p.m.
The event will also include four separate twenty minute presentations by local experts on the following hot topics:
- 9:45 a.m.- Identity Theft: protecting yourself online and off
- 10:20 a.m.- Healthy Aging: learning to get active and be healthy
- 10:55 a.m.- Transportation: getting around without gassing up
- 11:30 a.m.- Equipment and Technology: taking seniors into the future
“Identity theft, transportation, technology and healthy aging are important topics to older adults,” says Anne Ellermets, Kent County Contract Coordinator at Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM), the organization that administers the Millage. “In addition to providing information on the topics, we will also have resources available because each topic is addressed by a Kent County Senior Millage service.”
The event includes refreshments and over 30 door prize drawings for gift cards, gift baskets and other items.
Individuals will also have an opportunity to visit tables for each organization, pick up information about the Kent County Senior Millage and ask questions.
“We want the community to be engaged and aware of the Kent County Senior Millage and the good work it does in our community,” says Jackie O’Connor, Assistant Director at Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. “We are incredibly grateful that Kent County residents have been supportive of the millage and of older adults and we want to continue to provide information so they can see how their support helps improve our community.”
The Kent County Senior Millage was adopted by voters in 1998 and renewed and increased in 2006. In 2010, 17,824 clients were served. In 2011, $6.4 million will provide 46 unique services for older adults.
Click here for more information or call (616) 456-5664.
Kent County Senior Millage Letters of Intent
AAAWM is accepting Letters of Intent for 2012 - 2013 Kent County Senior Millage funds. Letters of Intent are required for all new agencies, as well as for current millage funded agencies who wish to add a new service. The letter is due to AAAWM no later than 12:00 p.m. on Friday, July 29, 2011.
There will be an informational meeting to answer any questions about the Letter of Intent on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. in the AAAWM conference room B at 1279 Cedar NE, Grand Rapids, MI.
Questions can be submitted prior to the meeting to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions will not be answered outside this meeting, however, answers to any submitted questions will be shared. Please do not ask AAAWM Contract Coordinators any direct questions, as they are unable to respond to individual inquiries.
Letters of Intent will be reviewed by the Kent County Millage Review Committee (KCMRC).
Agencies will be notified by August 12, 2011 if they are permitted to complete a full proposal. Proposals will be due September 6, 2011. Meetings with the KCMRC will be October 3, 4 or 5, 2011. Please save those dates to ensure your availability to give a short presentation to the KCMRC.
Click here to access the Letter of Intent.
Continuation Funding Forms
Current service providers will receive continuation of funding forms in early August. You will also be meeting with the KCMRC on the above October dates.
A 3 - 4% decrease in millage funding is expected for 2012 compared to the $6.4 million allocated in 2011.
Funding decisions are guided by current needs and community priorities. To learn more go to www.aaawm.org/providers/kent_county_senior_millage_providers or contact Jackie O’Connor at 616.222.7002 or at Jackie@aaawm.org
Flu Shots for Kent County Residents
The schedule for flu shots is now available, with the first location on September 30. For more information, look in the calendar section or open the “2010_flu_shot_schedule” in the right hand column.
Flu shots are available for
Kent County Senior Millage Letter of Intent for Funding
The 2015 Kent County Senior Millage Letter of Intent will be available on July 1, 2014. This form must be completed if an agency wants to apply for funding to provide services to older adults in
Once the Letters of Intent are submitted, the Kent County Millage Review Committee (KCMRC) will determine which agencies and services will continue to the next step in the funding process.
The Letter of Intent will be posted in the right column under "attached files.
A meeting to discuss the Letter of Intent will be on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. in the AAAWM conference rooms A&B . AAAWM is located at 3215 EagleCarest Drive
Questions can be submitted prior to the meeting to email@example.com.
Free Kent Rx Discount Card Usage Soars in Tough Economy
The Free Kent County Rx discount card, sponsored by Kent County and the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM), debuted in January 2009 and has seen usage numbers climb steadily over the past year.
There are no enrollment or participation guidelines and it is open to Kent County residents of all ages. Participating pharmacies include CVS, Family Fare, Meijer, Kay, Kmart and Walgreens. Card users can expect to see an average of 30% savings off their prescriptions.
“We anticipated the card would be useful to Kent County residents, and it certainly has been says Jackie O’Connor, Assistant Director at AAAWM. “The last report showed over 1,200 users in October 2009. This is double the 600 individuals reported just after the card debuted.”
AAAWM worked with a number of organizations throughout the county to distribute cards. Individuals can still request a card by calling (616) 988-5081 or by visiting www.aaawm.org or http://www.accesskent.com/OnlineServices/rxcard.htm. Additional savings on eyeglasses, vitamins, pet medications and dental care are also available.
Kent County Administration was the driving force in the inception of the discount card. “This was a great option to give to our citizens without costing the county any money," says Wayman Britt, Assistant Administrator. “It assists Kent County residents who may not have drug coverage and helps individuals and families control skyrocketing prescription expenses.”
Cards have no expiration date and are open to Kent County residents of all ages. Cards can not be used in conjunction with insurance coverage. Depending on the insurance provider, discounts may be better with the Kent County Rx Card.
For more information on how to use the card, click here.
Kent County Rx Card
As a resident of Kent County, you and your family have access to a FREE Prescription Drug Card program. Simply download your card and receive savings of up to 75 percent (savings average around 30 percent) at more than 50,000 national and regional pharmacies. Participating pharmacies include the following: Kmart Pharmacy, Meijer, Family Fare, Kay, CVS/pharmacy, and Walgreens, as well as thousands of independent pharmacies.