The Mental Health Needs and Perspectives of Culturally Deaf Older Adults Living in Two Counties in Florida

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The objective of this study was to develop an understanding of the perceptions and needs of Deaf older adults related to mental health services in their communities. There has been little research on this population and few studies have been published that explore mental health and the Deaf older adult population. A survey of two associations for the Deaf in Florida sampled attitudes of participants who were 55 years old or above and considered themselves to be “culturally Deaf.” Questions were developed to better understand the perspectives of Deaf older adults related to current availability of services, desire for services, and how services should be organized. The data suggested that culturally Deaf older adults were aware of available services and desired more services. Deaf older adults stated specific services they believed they needed, such as dementia resources and mental health services. Deaf older adults indicated a clear preference for services to be specific to their needs and separate from hearing older adults which has implications related to the development of programs and services for this population.

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Journal of the American Deafness & Rehabilitation Association, v. 40, issue 2, p. 5-18