According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, disabling hearing loss affects 25% of seniors aged 65 to 74 and 50% of seniors aged 75 and older. Yet even with alarming stats like these, deaf assisted living is a fairly recent trend; the first deaf assisted living community in the United States – Gresham, Oregon’s Avamere at Chestnut Lane – has only been in operation since 2003. Demand has risen quickly, however, and there are now more than a dozen deaf-exclusive retirement facilities in the US, all of which frequently draw residents from hundreds of miles away.
Both the concept of deaf assisted living and the terminology used to describe it are fairly new; thus, terms may be used inconsistently. Generally speaking, most assisted living facilities are “deaf-friendly” in that they can accommodate deaf seniors, but complete deaf assisted living facilities are designed specifically for deaf residents and serve them almost exclusively.
Specific accommodations may vary from community to community, but common features include the following:
In addition to assisted living facilities for the deaf, most major cities have social clubs and support groups for deaf seniors. To learn more about programs and activities in your area, contact one of the following groups: