As we go about our usual day, our activities are largely influenced and affected by our five senses. We may not think about it often but these senses play a large role in everything we do! As we age, there are changes that occur throughout the entire body, which also includes our senses of hearing, vision, smell, touch and taste.
The extent and speed of these changes are largely determined by our lifestyle, current health and conditions as well as genetics. The loss or deterioration of any of these senses can be often be quite challenging and frustrating but continue reading to discover ways in which these changes can be corrected or relieved!
Our bodies require a certain level of stimulation before our senses will recognize it. It has been discovered that during the aging process the level of stimulation that is required increases. It is probably no surprise that the most obvious senses affected by aging are the loss of hearing and vision.
How Vision is Affected
Eye are dryer and more uncomfortable due to less lubrication being produced
Slower reaction between the pupil adapting between bright light and darkness
Clarity of vision decreases
Pupils decrease in size
Increased difficulty in tolerating glare
Particles in the eye may appear (known as floaters)
Difficulty driving and reading
Field of Vision reduces
All of these changes have the potential to cause injury, eye strain, headaches and fatigue.
How to improve vision problems:
– Eye drops can be very helpful in relieving dry and irritated eyes
– Contact lenses or glasses are highly effective in correcting vision problems
– Incorporate the use of warmer colors (red, yellow, orange) around the home as these colors are easier to distinguish between than cooler colors.
– Schedule regular eye examinations
How Hearing is Affected
As we get older hearing loss occurs due to the structures and nerves gradually breaking down within the ear.
Presbycusis – This is the most prevalent type of hearing loss associated with aging. Sounds of high frequency become more difficult to distinguish and general hearing may decline. The degree of this type of hearing loss is linked to the exposure to loud noise in the past.
Tinnitus – Tinnitus is a very common condition that is experienced amongst many older member of society. If you notice a persistent ringing or unusual sounds it is very likely to be tinnitus.
The loss of hearing can have a dramatic impact on our lives. Unfortunately some level of hearing loss can’t be avoided, when it comes to aging. The good news is that there are many ways in which hearing can be improved. All it takes it a visit to your health professional to find out the various forms of assistance available. You may be referred to a specialist or qualify to use hearing aids or implants. There are also a range of devices for around the home that are designed especially for those experiencing hearing difficulties.
How Taste and Smell are Affected
The senses of taste and smell are closely related and work together brilliantly. As we age these senses decline, which can lead to problems.
These two senses assist in ensuring that we consume and enjoy healthy food. They also act to keep us safe. However the decline of these senses can cause a lack of appetite and nutrition deficiency. Someone with difficulties with taste and smell are also more like to accidently to ingest food that is not fit for consumption!
Many find that increasing the concentration of flavors or adding more spices assists in enhancing the enjoyment of food!
If you experience changes in you taste or smell, speak with your health professional as such losses can also be due to other factors, aside from aging, that can be easily treated.
How Touch is Affected
The act of touching involves receives signals and vibrations, which let you know whether something is pleasant, unpleasant, soft, hard, hot or cold! During the later years this reduces in sensitivity due to a reduced level of blood flow to the touch receptors. This can make it more difficult to distinguish between sensations such as hot and cold.
These changes pose a risk to such problems as:
– Difficulty walking
– Pressure Sores
Regularly check your entire body for skin condition, sores and other abnormalities. You never know what you may discover even if you’re not experiencing pain!
Adjust the water heater in your home so that it doesn’t exceed a certain temperature. This will reduce the likelihood of accidental burning occurring.
If unsure on the appropriate level of dressing for the current temperature, consider having a quick glance at a thermometer, to guide you.