Subject Area

Counseling, Health Care, Social Work


The article was written because of the huge need to collect data on oppression experienced by deaf seniors. Open-ended responses were collected from 91 participants aged 50 years and older from five states in the areas of health care, lack of communication with family members, neighborhood, workplace, and hearing children taking over their deaf parents’ role. In the health care field and workplace, deaf seniors had experienced oppression when they did not have the full communication accessibility. There was a lack of awareness of understanding how to make it fully communication-accessible through interpreters and technology and also, the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act for the provision of qualified interpreters. In the health care field, the lack of the provision of interpreters had resulted in misdiagnoses, wrong medications, delayed appointments, and misunderstandings about health issues and doctors’ instructions. In the work environment, this isolation hindered their opportunities for job promotions, yet at the same time they were afraid to ask for promotion because, if they did, they might have been fired. Neighbors, extended family members, and hearing children of deaf parents need to recognize the needs of deaf seniors and assure that deaf seniors have accessible communication. Recommendations include the provision of training and workshops for deaf seniors in the areas of legislation, advocacy, using resources, and self-empowerment.