The aging process affects all areas of the body, yet many older adults are surprised at the effects that getting older can have on their five senses. While everyone expects some mild hearing or vision loss, severe changes in one’s senses can impact their quality of life and safety. Here is a guide to the changes seniors can anticipate for each of the five senses, along with the importance of implementing strategies to preserve sensory abilities for as long as possible.
- Vision – There are numerous health conditions that can impact one’s vision, and this makes regular eye exams especially important for senior adults. Age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma are the main causes of vision loss for seniors, yet these conditions tend to start out slowly. Prompt treatment can prevent progression to serious vision impairments, making it of the utmost importance for seniors to visit their doctor or Mesa senior care specialists on an annual or bi-annual basis.
- Hearing – In addition to vision problems, hearing loss is prevalent in the senior adult population. Exposure to loud noises, smoking and damage caused by multiple ear infections all place older adults at risk for hearing loss. Unfortunately, seniors who experience trouble with their sense of hearing may not be able to hear warning signals such as a fire alarm. Therefore, it is important to avoid known risk factors for hearing loss and have a hearing test performed on a regularly scheduled basis.
- Touch – A person’s ability to sense feeling on their skin also declines as they age. This can be due to nerve damage or a loss of sensitivity in the skin. Those who experience changes in their sense of touch should be aware that they may not always notice when they have been injured. As a result, it is important to implement safety precautions when performing potentially dangerous activities such as cooking. Wearing sunscreen and applying lotion to dry skin can also benefit those who struggle with a loss of sensation.
- Smell – A person’s sense of smell will begin to decline rapidly once they have reached their 50s. This sense is affected by factors such as nasal congestion, smoking and certain medications, which can all impair one’s ability to detect scents. While some people welcome the inability to smell certain odors, it is important to be able to smell smoke and other warning signals. Seniors who have lost the majority of their sense of smell may also need to be reminded gently about personal hygiene matters.
- Taste – When a person’s sense of taste declines, they may lose interest in eating a nutritious diet. As with the other senses, some loss of taste can be expected as a person ages. However, seeking solutions for dry mouth, periodontal disease and medication side effects can all help to increase a senior’s ability to taste their favorite foods. If your aging loved one needs help with meal preparation, grocery shopping or any other household chores, consider help from a professional hourly caregiver in Mesa who can ensure their comfort and safety.
By understanding the reasons behind the changes that older adults undergo regarding their senses, one can help them to fully enjoy their golden years by protecting their valuable sensory perception.
For more information on how to promote health and quality of life for senior loved ones, contact Home Care Assistance today. We are a leading provider of elderly care and are dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care to our senior clients and peace of mind to their families. When it comes to home care, Mesa families can learn more about our services during a free no obligation consultation. Simply dial (480) 699-4899 and speak with a devoted Care Manager.