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Margaret Hudson grew up as the oldest of 8 children, raised 4 children of her own and taught for 30 years so is no stranger to finding solutions where sometimes they weren’t easy to find. Now, at the age of 72, she is hard of hearing and has some mobility issues. She finds herself living in what she thought would be her forever dream apartment. The complex where she lives is in a quiet area with security entrances where each building had 12 apartments and many nice areas for socialization and gatherings. Her apartment is upstairs at the back corner of the building with large window that overlook a beautiful wooded area where she can watch wildlife wander by in the mornings and evenings. She felt she was totally set to be quietly content for years to come.
Reality set in when a new neighbor who moved in next door who is extremely s
ensitive to sounds, especially those that come through the adjoining bedroom and living room walls. Problems seemed to be mounting quickly. It seemed that every time Margaret's phone would ring it was disturbing for her new neighbor. The TV volume was also a daily annoyance for the neighbor. Margaret stated that her neighbor would then bang on the wall with a broom handle to tell Margaret that there was too much noise thereby causing Margaret to feel like she couldn't reasonably live in her own apartment.
Margaret's peaceful life had become challenged daily.
Margaret’s sister Mickey, saw a public service announcement on TV for UPCAP’s U.P. 2-1-1 Call Center saying that they could refer people to appropriate UP agencies for assistance with knowing about and using assistive devices aimed to promote peoples independence and quality of life. Mickey was referred to Superior Alliance for Independent Living (SAIL) and gave us a call and made an appointment to meet with the AT Specialist at Margaret’s home. When Mickey called in to make the appointment she explained the noise problem and what activities of Margaret's created the most problem for the neighbor. Mickey said that the cost of soundproofing was much too high to even consider but that she would really like to find a way to de-escalate the problems and help Margaret regain the peace and calm at her home.
We first addressed the TV sound/hearing issue. I showed Margaret a couple of devices that would make it possible for her to hear what was being said without sound traveling through the walls and disturbing her neighbor. She chose the simple TV Ears device because it was very user friendly and inexpensive to purchase
The second issue we addressed was the noise from the alarm clock and telephone calls that were meant to be sure that Margaret had indeed gotten up to get ready for her day. She had a telephone with an incredibly loud ringer that worked well as a backup to her alarm clock with Mickey’s daily morning call. Margaret was reluctant to try an alarm clock with a shaker because she enjoyed the telephone calls from Mickey in the mornings. Margaret was hoping for a phone that would wake her up but would not be a nuisance to her neighbor. Through the demonstration of several possible solutions, Margaret decided that the Clarity cordless phone would work best. This phone vibrates and has lights that quickly flash when the phone rings and the actual ringer can be set on silent. This phone would actually allow her much more freedom because she could travel down the hall to a friend’s apartment and still know when she had an incoming phone call thereby not having to stay home to receive important calls.
Margaret and Mickey were provided with catalogs from a couple of reputable vendors so they would have providers who were easy to access and trustworthy to deal with. Before the day was out they ordered both the telephone and TV Ears. By the middle of the following week Mickey called SAIL saying that the items had arrived and were both installed, working great and perfect solutions.
Life for Margaret had returned to peaceful while she enjoyed her daily routines. This story is an excellent example of how UPCAP and SAIL continue to collaborate with the outcome of alleviating barriers for a very deserving senior citizen to live an independent and peaceful life.
Michigan Disability Rights Coalition 3498 East Lake Lansing Road, Suite 100 East Lansing, MI 48823
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