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To be sure, the holidays are a time to fret about overindulging and overspending. But some holiday situations are more complex. Northern Illinois University has professionals who offer advice about a few special situations you or your loved ones may be facing in the coming weeks.
Turn it up, will you? Hearing issues may be top of mind as family members gather and things get loud. If you notice your dad’s ability to keep up with conversations has declined since the last time you saw him, it’s time to chat. “It’s important to talk about how isolating hearing loss can be,” said NIU audiology professor Diane ScheckLong. It’s a hot-button issue now, as some newer research shows a compelling connection in cognitive decline with those who have hearing loss. “When a relative is on the outskirts of conversations it can be interpreted in a decline in with it-ness but it could just be hearing loss,” ScheckLong explained.
ScheckLong also has suggestions for helping those with hearing loss or hearing aids communicate during gatherings. Her tips include having one-on-one conversations in quieter corners, speaking directly face-to-face, and speaking more slowly and rephrasing instead of repeating words louder.
About Diane ScheckLong:
ScheckLong is the clinical supervisor in audiology at Northern Illinois University’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. An associate professor of audiology and a certified audiologist, ScheckLong’s research areas include hearing assessment in the geriatric population and intervention with hearing aids and counseling for individuals, couples and families on hearing-related issues.
A soldier’s holiday: For the families and friends of our troops, a soldier’s return home for the holidays is cause for joyous celebration. Expectations are high as everyone wants to create a perfect homecoming. But there are some important things to keep in mind, according to United States Army LTC Jay Morrison, head of NIU’s Military Science department. Regardless of whether they are returning from a long tour of duty, or after entering only a month ago, family should expect one thing: “Your loved one has changed,” Morrison said. They may have matured and developed in both positive and negative ways, and they are going to be different. “It’s important to remember they are still the same person,” Morrison adds.
Morrison, who himself has served in Iraq, has advice for families as they welcome soldiers home. First and foremost: listen. “Listen, but not from a point of distance. Take what they are willing to give and accept that,” Morrison advises. It may take a while for a soldier to adapt. And for those soldiers who cannot return for the holidays, Morrison advises sending comfort items a solider requests, as well as personal items like notes and cards. It’s also important to set up Skype time and to share thoughts and prayers.
About LTC Jay Morrison:
Morrison is a professor of Military Science and Department Head at Northern Illinois University. He is a Field Artillery Officer and 1995 ROTC graduate from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a 2003 graduate of Webster University. He has served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.