As you age, your senses change. Taste, touch, sound, smell, and sight can all diminish. The changes may be so slight you don’t notice them. Others find that it can be a little more noticeable and impact daily living.
You’ve noticed your dad doesn’t seem to hear as well as he used to. Your mom has a hard time reading the fine print on labels. Vision changes may make it hard for them to walk up and down the stairs when there’s dim lighting. They may not be able to drive anymore.
What causes these changes? If your parents are finding their five senses are changing, what should you do to help them?
Changes to Hearing
Older adults may experience age-related hearing loss. Often, the change impacts how well they hear sounds on a higher frequency or a constant ringing in the ears (tinnitus) may be to blame. Background noise at a family gathering or in a large crowd may drown out what others are saying.
If your parents are experiencing this, schedule an appointment with a specialist and have their hearing checked. Medications and ear wax build-up may be to blame. Those are easy to address. Otherwise, hearing aids may help them.
Changes to Sight
Vision diminishes as you age. Many find it’s hard to read the fine print by the time they reach 50. Magnifiers can help your parents read labels and documents with small print. Other causes of vision loss are linked to eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration.
Make sure your parents are seeing their eye doctor for regular eye exams. If their eye health is changing, early detection is the key to helping them see. Glasses, surgical procedures, and medications may help.
Changes to Smell and Taste
Smell and taste go hand in hand. Taste buds don’t regenerate as quickly as you age. The sense of smell can be impacted by years of smoking. After the age of 70, it’s normal to lose some of the nerve function that helps with smell.
Medication side effects, oral health issues, and viruses like COVID-19 also impact taste and smell. There may not be much you can do to stop your parents from experiencing worsening smell and taste. Try talking to their doctor about different medications or use sharper flavors like fresh herbs and citrus juice to flavor the foods they eat.
Changes to Touch
If your parents find things don’t feel the same or that it’s harder to feel vibrations or a sense of hot or cold, talk to their doctor. Some chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, can change sensations of pain. Numb, tingly extremities may be a sign of decreased blood flow.
When the senses change because of medications or health issues, get your parents lined up with help from caregivers. Caregivers can help them schedule medical appointments. They can make sure your parents are doing what the doctors recommend and that they take prescriptions on time.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering a Caregiver in Cary, NC please contact the caring staff at Affordable Family Care. Serving Raleigh, Greensboro, and the surrounding areas in North Carolina. Call today 919-676-1070.
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