Older people with sight and hearing loss

The older we are, the more likely we are to have sight and hearing problems. In the UK, most people who have sensory impairments are older people who developed them in later life.

If you are gradually losing your sight and hearing, you may not notice or understand exactly what is happening. You may start to struggle with daily life and find it harder to keep in touch or to get out and about.

When a friend or family member starts to have problems with their sight and hearing, you might notice them withdrawing from social situations. They may avoid family gatherings or activities they have enjoyed in the past. You might find that having a conversation or doing activities together is difficult.

It is easy to ignore sensory loss, or see it as just a 'part of getting older'. But together, by knowing what to look for and by making small adjustments, we can help everyone continue to enjoy life.

How do I know if someone has dual-sensory loss?

Our simple Fill in the Gaps checklist can be used to see if your relative or someone you support has dual-sensory loss.

How do I help someone who has dual-sensory loss?

Our Enjoy Life! booklet is a guide to help you understand what they are going through. It explains how you can help and where to go for more specialist support.

Activities for older people

Sense Arts, Sport and Wellbeing provide activities to empower and support older people with sight and hearing loss.

As part of our Sensibility arts programme, we are working with older people to produce tactile and visual art that focuses on memory, audio, movement and portaiture. We also work to establish sport and physical activity sessions for older people, including specially adapted versions of tennis, cycling and football, as well as yoga and rambling.

Information for professionals

Sensory loss can have a real impact on a person’s independence, communication and mobility, and as such early identification is crucial.  Sense has carried out research into the early identification of sight and hearing loss in care homes, and the training needs of the care staff who work with them.

Sense has produced a resource for healthcare staff, It All Adds Up, to help them to identify and support patients with sensory impairments.

Our Seeing Me booklet is a guide to sight and hearing loss designed for care professionals working with older people.

Research into social prescribing

Social prescribing is where GPs and other healthcare professionals refer people to local, non-clinical services. Like our Arts, Sport and Wellbeing activities.

We conducted research into the impact of a community-based arts and craft project that involved socially isolated elderly people with dual sensory impairments.

Get in touch

Get in touch if you would like information and advice about older people with sight and hearing loss.

Contact us