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Which Sensory Functions Change with Age?

By , 9:00 am on

The changes in senses that accompany ageing make it challenging to maintain independence. However, there are healthy habits and strategies your senior loved one can adopt to manage those differences, including vision and hearing loss, which are the most noticeable changes. Continue reading to learn about changes in senses in the senior years and how to handle each issue.

Vision

Eye structures change as seniors grow older, and these changes can impact how the brain interprets the light processed by the eyes. When the cornea is less sensitive, your parent is at higher risk for eye injuries. Ageing also causes the pupils to decrease in size. As a result, the eyes react more slowly to both bright lights and darkness. To address vision impairment, remove clutter in the home to reduce falls, and your loved one should use televisions, computers, smartphones, and other devices with bigger screens and large numbers or letters.

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, Sydney Home Care Assistance can help. Our care workers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

Hearing

Distinguishing between nearby sounds and noises from long distances can be difficult for the elderly. Seniors also find it difficult to hear higher tones. Auditory hair cells located in the cochlea of the inner ear are responsible for detecting sounds, and ageing can cause these hair cells to become severely damaged and die. These hair cells don’t regrow, and the hearing damage may be permanent. To address the changes associated with the sense of hearing, speak clearly to your loved one, and use nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, notes, and hand gestures.

Taste

Taste buds start decreasing around the age of 60, and the change could prevent your loved one from detecting dangers such as undercooked meats or spoiled food. Diminished saliva production caused by ageing could also affect the sense of taste. These are problems that can cause malnutrition, which is why you should speak with your parent’s doctor or a nutritionist about medications or spices that can help your loved one enjoy the taste of healthy meals and snacks once again.

Smell

Detecting odours can be challenging for older adults as their sense of smell decreases. Changes in the ability to smell are due to decreased mucus production and the loss of nerve endings in the nose. These changes could make your loved one unaware of body odour, expired foods, or smoke. These are things that could put your loved one’s health and safety at risk, which is why you should monitor his or her daily actions and help out with meal prep.

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

Touch

Skin changes and circulation problems can make older adults less sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Their motor skills also decrease, making it difficult to open doors or move boxes and other objects. When your loved one loses the sense of touch, he or she has a higher risk of injuring him or herself or others. To address this problem, always check your loved one’s comfort levels, and make it easier to age in place by modifying the home or using home care services.

Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare services. Services available in our customisable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of ageing, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (02) 9158 3880.

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