Established in 1984, Deafblind Awareness Week is celebrated throughout the last week in June. We aim to raise awareness for those living with deafblindness.
Deafblind Awareness Week is always at the end of June to commemorate Helen Kellar’s birthday on June 27. Helen Keller’s work made a huge difference to the field of sight and hearing loss. Without her efforts, the world today may be very different for people with sensory impairment.
What is deafblindness?
People with deafblindness have a combination of sight and hearing sensory impairments. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are totally blind or totally deaf–most people with deafblindness have a little sight and/or hearing that they are able to use.
Research has shown that 0.2% of the world’s population is living with severe deafblindness. A further 2% of people around the world are living with milder forms of deafblindness. This means that there are approximately over 15 million people in the world with severe deafblindness.
Deafblindness is far more common than many people realise. Around 400,000 people in the UK are affected by sight and hearing loss.
It can affect everyone in different ways; some people might need to wear strong prescription glasses while others might need an assistance dog or cane. For anyone affected, day-to-day activities can be difficult—both mentally and physically.
Sensory impairment and deafblindness
Some people have sight and hearing impairments that are caused by sensory processing issues. This is referred to as ‘multi-sensory impairment’. People with multi-sensory impairment may have eyes and ears that function normally, but their brain has trouble filtering, organising, and interpreting information taken in by the senses.
People with deafblindness and sensory impairment may also have additional physical disabilities or learning disabilities.
Loneliness and sensory impairment
Research with both adults and children suggests that people with a visual impairment experience difficulties being a part of social activities. This can contribute to social isolation and loneliness. These difficulties include:
- social and environmental barriers such as a lack of awareness on the part of sighted people of how to communicate with people with a visual impairment.
- arranging plans and transport to social activities.
- poor lighting and the use of background music in public spaces.
- reliance on accessible options (such as audio descriptive and closed caption screenings at cinemas).
How to support someone with sensory impairment at home
There are a variety of techniques used to communicate by and with people who are deaf and blind. Each person is different.
While overcoming the limitations can be challenging, there are various ways you can support communication with a person who is deafblind. These include:
- Speech: talk clearly and slowly
- Written communication
- Graphic and non-tactile symbols
- Tactile symbols and object cues
- Gestures/movement cues
- Facial expressions or noises that indicate a feeling or opinion
- Manual sign language
- Tactile sign language
- Touch cues
- Symbolic action (for example, taking someone to the tap to ask if they would like a drink)
Remember, hands are the ears, eyes, and voice of many people who are both deaf and blind. Being hand-in-hand allows for the continued communication through the physical connection. Taking a deafblind person’s hands lets them experience your attempt to interact and communicate with them.
Sensory impairment care
Experienced carers at Mumby’s can support people with a range of sensory impairments.
Mumby’s carers empathise with your situation. We can help you with:
- support to live independently
- benefits and finances
- social clubs and activities
We understand it can be challenging and demanding caring for someone with a sensory disability, as much as it can be frustrating for them in trying to communicate. Our carers are on hand to assist you in caring for your loved one on a full-time basis. We provide live-in home care, so your loved one can have round the clock care and support.
You don’t need to face this alone, whether you are someone who needs care or care for someone with sensory impairment. Our carers are friendly, professional, and happy to help with whatever aspects of care or support you need.
Mumby’s Live-in sensory impairment care
Live in companion care provides a live-in carer who is always there to chat and engage with your loved one, whenever they want to talk. A live-in companionship carer can also accompany your elderly parent on their daily activities and have fun with mutual hobbies. Clients and carers can enjoy relaxing and watching a movie together. It can be beneficial just knowing there is someone there.
Our companionship carers also help with chores around the house such as shopping, cooking and cleaning. They can escort your loved one to a doctor’s appointment or to see friends and family or assist with technology so that they can safely speak to people they care about online.
Loneliness is a huge and distressing problem and there are a number of health issues associated with it such as depression, sleep problems, hypertension, stress and mental health problems. Live-in companion care is proven to boost a client’s well-being and happiness levels. At Mumby’s, you can rest assured that our family will look after your family.
We offer practical support, such as:
- Light domestic duties
- Offering companionship
- Aid with reading
- Help with writing letters
- Organising mail
- Outings – social and appointments
- Plus more