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How Are the 5 Senses Affected by the Aging Process?

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As seniors grow older, all five of their primary senses change. While these types of changes are perfectly natural, there are a few tactics older adults can use to protect their senses as much as possible. Here’s a look at how the aging process impacts the senses and a few steps seniors can take to adapt to those changes.

1. Sight

When it comes to age-related health issues, vision loss is one of the most common problems older adults face. According to a study conducted by the Canadian Association of Optometrists, 1 in 9 seniors develops irreversible vision loss by the age of 65. While options such as laser surgery and cataract removal can help with many eye conditions, most seniors need to wear some type of eyeglasses. As a general rule, all older adults should schedule comprehensive eye exams once every year. 

Seniors with significant vision loss may need help to continue living at home safely. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Edmonton Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

2. Smell

Several nerve endings are found in the lining of the nose, which is where the sense of smell begins. Over the years, a few different factors could impact a senior’s sense of smell, including nerve damage, shrinking nerve endings, and limited mucus production. Seniors who want to preserve their sense of smell should steer clear of harmful airborne contaminants, including cigarette smoke, asbestos, mold, and harsh cleaning chemicals.

3. Taste

While the sense of smell has a huge impact on the sense of taste, there are millions of receptors and nerve endings in the mouth as well. However, much like the nerve endings in the nose, the receptors in the mouth will begin to shrink and die off over time. To combat this issue, seniors might want to mix up the spices and flavors they use when they cook. They can also alter the textures of foods if they can no longer taste all the unique flavors.

4. Touch

There are a few different reasons this unique sense changes with age. While some of the receptors in the skin become damaged over the years, others simply shrink because there isn’t an adequate supply of blood. The brain might also have a difficult time receiving and interpreting signals from the skin, which could lead to undiagnosed injuries and health complications. Older adults who have a diminished sense of touch must regularly examine their bodies for any signs of injuries. 

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elder care. Edmonton families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

5. Hearing

Diminished hearing can have a huge impact on the ability to communicate. Luckily, there are some steps seniors can take to preserve their hearing, including practicing good ear hygiene habits and avoiding loud noises. Those who are experiencing diminished hearing should speak with their doctors about the possibility of using hearing aids. These devices are more advanced than ever, and they’re often nearly invisible when they’re worn.

If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of homecare services. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (780) 977-7379 to schedule a free in-home consultation.