Here’s to Your Health: Sensory Changes

doctorA representative from Interim HealthCare will present a talk titled “Sensory Changes in Later Life” at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 11, at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave. The seminar is part of the ongoing monthly series called, “Here’s To Your Health.”

Most older adults experience changes in their sensory capacities such as vision, hearing, smell, taste and peripheral sensation as they age.

Subtle sensory changes are not easily recognized right away, but they can contribute to social withdrawal, isolation, paranoia, anxiety and depression. These mental health problems can exacerbate other chronic illnesses, dramatically strain relationships and negatively impact all aspects of daily living.

In addition, a number of daily living activities are affected, and some sensory decline can even put a senior at risk. Weakened vision limits reading, driving, and navigating stairs or curbs. A loss in hearing makes it difficult to hear instructions, the phone, doorbell or knocking – all of which can be dangerous in the event of an emergency. Changes in smell and taste make it less likely a senior will smell smoke in a fire or gas leak, or maintain adequate nutritional intake due to an inability to recognize spoiled food. A lack of peripheral sensation often results in falls or calluses and serious foot lesions.

Many people believe sensory decline is an inevitable part of aging, but treatment and sensory aides can vastly improve a senior’s quality of life and restore a sense of independence and participation in one’s activities and relationships. In addition, caregivers should be encouraged to check for, and address, sensory deficits regardless of how minimal they may seem.

Interim Healthcare will discuss sensory changes later in life, including ways to identify and treat these conditions.

Oak Park Arms Senior Living is a rental retirement community which provides senior housing in the form of independent living. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information call 708-386-4040.