How Aging Affects the 5 Senses

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The aging process affects all areas of the body, yet many older adults are surprised at the effects getting older can have on their five senses. While everyone expects some mild hearing or vision loss, severe changes in the senses can impact quality of life and safety. Here’s a guide to the changes seniors can anticipate for each of the five senses along with strategies that can preserve sensory abilities for as long as possible. 

1. Vision

There are numerous health conditions that can impact vision, and this makes regular eye exams especially important for seniors. Age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma are the main causes of vision loss in seniors, yet these conditions tend to start out slowly. Prompt treatment can prevent progression to serious vision impairment, making it of the utmost importance for seniors to visit their doctors on an annual or biannual basis.

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, Garland Ambience In-Home Care 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. Hearing

In addition to vision problems, hearing loss is prevalent in the senior population. Exposure to loud noises, smoking, and damage caused by multiple ear infections all place older adults at risk for hearing loss. Seniors who experience difficulty with their sense of hearing may not be able to hear a warning signal such as a fire alarm. Therefore, it’s important to avoid known risk factors for hearing loss and have hearing tests performed on a regular basis.

3. Touch

The ability to sense touch on the skin also decreases with 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 they may not always notice when they’ve been injured. As a result, it’s 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 experience a loss of sensation.

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 senior care. Trust Ambience In-Home Care to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.

4. Smell

The sense of smell begins to decrease rapidly once people have reached their 50s. This sense is affected by factors such as nasal congestion, smoking, and certain medications, which can all impair the ability to detect scents. While some people welcome the inability to smell certain odors, it’s 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.

5. Taste

When the sense of taste decreases, seniors 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 increase a senior’s ability to taste his or her favorite foods.

If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Ambience In-Home Care, a trusted provider of Garland in-home care. 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. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (469) 535-6825 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services. 


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