Most deafblind people in the UK are older people who have developed hearing and sight loss in later life. The older someone is, the more likely they are to have both a visual and a hearing impairment.
Often this hearing and vision loss comes on gradually. Older people themselves, and others around them, may not recognise or understand what is happening. This dual-sensory loss often goes unrecognised, or is seen as a natural consequence of ageing about which nothing can be done.
Sense has free, easy-to-use resources for family members and staff that support older people with dual-sensory loss.
How do I know if someone has dual-sensory loss?
I have a relative who doesn’t hear or see too well
Living with hearing and sight loss in later life can be a challenge. Your relative may be struggling with daily life and it can be hard to know how best to support them.
Our downloadable booklet, The Good Life is a guide to understanding what your relative is going through, how you can help, and where to go for more specialist support.
I work for social services
For social services staff, our Fill in the Gaps toolkit can help you recognise dual-sensory loss, understand how this can affect a person's life and the support they need. Deafblind people are entitled to a specialist assessment. It is important that staff working with older people understand what is meant by deafblindness and how to recognise it. The term 'deafblind' refers to a combined hearing and sight loss. Most deafblind people have some hearing and vision.
Download the Fill in the Gaps toolkit for England
Download the Fill in the Gaps toolkit for Wales in English
Download the Fill in the Gaps toolkit for Northern Ireland
I work in a residential care home, or for a domiciliary care agency
Dual-sensory loss can create challenges for managers and staff. People who cannot easily see the television, listen to the radio, read, or take part in activities and conversations can quickly become isolated, leading to boredom, stress, depression and withdrawal.
If someone has serious difficulties with communication, how do you find out what they want, explain their options or let them know what is happening?
Providing the right support and finding ways to communicate will make the experience better for everyone involved, whether they are resident, client, family or staff. Our Seeing Me booklet has been written with you in mind.
First published: Monday 2 July 2012
Updated: Wednesday 22 August 2012