It’s not unusual for older adults to experience losses in hearing and eyesight. These changes are typically associated with aging, but aging can impact all the senses, and sensory changes can affect health and safety. Older adults and their caregivers can benefit from understanding the sensory changes that come with age.
Changes in the Ear
As people age, structural changes can take place in the ear, and those changes can impact hearing. A lifetime of exposure to loud noise can damage hearing by causing the tiny hairs and nerves that facilitate hearing to deteriorate over time. These changes can affect the inner ear’s ability to control balance, leading to falls and fractures. When older adults cannot hear well, they may find it challenging to communicate. They may also fail to hear signs of danger, such as a car horn or a siren.
Changes in the Eyes
As individuals age, the pupils in their eyes tend to shrink, letting in less light and making it difficult to see in situations where light is dim. The lens can also lose elasticity. Glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration are all conditions that make it difficult for older adults to see. Being unable to see clearly can create dangerous situations when individuals try to drive at night or read medication labels. Also, being unable to see can make it difficult to walk safely, especially in places with uneven surfaces.
Older adults with significant vision loss may need help to continue living at home safely. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Rockwall 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.
Changes in Smell and Taste
Pleasant aromas from food can stimulate the appetite, increasing the desire to eat. Because the senses of taste and smell work together, if the sense of smell deteriorates, seniors may not enjoy eating, causing them to skip meals, which can lead to poor nutrition and illness. The decline in taste buds that often accompanies aging can also reduce food’s palatability. Sinus problems, colds, and a decrease in mucus in the nose as people age can impact smelling ability. Decreased sense of smell can be dangerous in life-threatening situations, such as a house fire or a gas leak.
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. Rockwall families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Changes in the Sense of Touch
The sense of touch can prevent injury and reduce the likelihood of serious illness. Changes in the brain can affect changes in sensation. Decreased blood flow to the brain, nerves, and spinal cord can affect a person’s sense of touch. Diabetes and other conditions that lead to nerve damage can make it difficult to feel pain. For example, an individual with neuropathy may step on a sharp object while walking barefoot and not feel pain from the injury. The area could become infected to the point of requiring amputation. Impaired sense of touch can also make some items feel less hot, increasing the danger of an older adult being scalded by hot water, while not being able to feel cold can lead to frostbite or hypothermia.
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 home care 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. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care, contact us at (972) 722-7833 today.