Many people’s five senses decline as they get older. Our senses are how we interact with the world and can greatly impact how we react to hazards. As a result, it’s important to recognize when your senses are declining.
Many people do not immediately notice that their senses have become duller or may ignore symptoms in the belief that they can cope. However, it’s important to diagnose these issues early and get treatment to stay safe and not miss out on experiences.
Below are just a few tips for recognizing when your senses are declining.
Almost everyone experiences some loss of vision in older age. Many people find that their short-distance vision is reduced after the age of 40 – you may find yourself straining to read things in low-level light or holding your phone further away from your face.
Reading glasses are an easy solution to this. It’s possible that your long-distance vision may fade too – the inability to read road signs or straining to see the TV are common signs of this. Separate glasses or bifocals could allow you to see long-distance clearly, which could be very important if you drive.
Double vision, cloudy vision or lights that seem too intense are some of the most serious vision problems to look out for (potentially a sign of cataracts). An eye test with an optician’s help is the best way to diagnose any vision problems.
Many people experience loss of hearing as they get older. Losing this sense can have many negative effects, including the inability to keep up with conservation and sleeping through alarms.
If you’ve noticed you’re straining to hear people, not hearing alarms or doorbells or constantly turning up the TV to a volume that others think is too high, it could be a sign that your hearing is deteriorating. It could be worth seeing an audiologist to get a hearing test.
They may be able to prescribe a hearing aid to help sharpen your hearing once again – hearing aid programming has come a long way in the last few decades, and there are now ways to reduce background noise and even mask tinnitus. This could make everyday life much easier to cope with.
Some people lose sensation in parts of their bodies as they get older. This can be caused by nerve damage or brain conditions like multiple sclerosis. Lack of feeling around the body can often lead to mobility issues or issues with grip, so it’s important to diagnose these problems early and treat them.
Numbness or unexplained pins and needles are signs to look out for. A doctor will be able to help you get to the bottom of any health problem.
If food tastes funny and certain perfumes/oils no longer have the same aroma they once did, it could be a sign that you’re losing your sense of smell. Smell is an underrated sense – we rely on it to detect a variety of hazards ranging from gas leaks to expired food.
There is sadly no treatment for loss of smell, but there are many ways to cope. Make sure that you have a working carbon monoxide monitor and keep a sharper eye on used-by dates.
Foods not tasting as exciting as they once did? You may be losing your taste. Taste is linked to smell and is arguably our least important sense. However, loss of taste can still have a negative impact on our lives.
Loss of taste can turn people off of certain foods – some of which may be important sources of nutrition. It’s, therefore, important to try to keep up a balanced diet once your sense of taste fades, even if you cannot fully appreciate all the flavors. There is usually no treatment for loss of taste, although giving up bad habits as smoking may help.