Friday, December 21, 2018

Smell and Taste Sensory Changes

This week, my column discusses sensory changes that accompany aging – specifically the changes to taste and smell that come with aging. In a recent study, the foods most often identified by taste and smell were: salt 89%, coffee 71%, tomato 69%, fish 59% and sugar 57%. There is an indication that the senses of taste and smell decline significantly with age. If an individual is also having difficulty with their vision, they may be quite limited in their ability to identify foods, causing foods to have little appeal. Distinctive textures and temperatures, such as in ice cream or popcorn, can be important for the enjoyment of foods. Poor nutrition can have serious consequences for elderly people, so it is important that they eat properly. Tasteless foods make eating less enjoyable and bland, low salt or other diet restrictions can contribute to the undesirability of food. A pleasant mealtime atmosphere and foods that are enjoyed in a social setting can make people feel more like eating. Talking about food, the good taste and smell can make the food appear to taste better. Condiments and foods with strong flavors may also help to maintain interest in eating. Poor sense of smell and taste may make it difficult to recognize spoiled foods or the smell of danger such as gas. This is a potential hazard for the person who lives alone. Older people with diminished smell and taste are encouraged to keep track of the age of foods in their refrigerators and check the pilot lights of gas stoves regularly. Also, family members and friends can also check these things whenever they visit. I hope this bit of information has been helpful. If you are looking after a parent, grandparent, friend, or elderly family member, please remember these tips that can help you compensate for the effects of diminished taste and smell on your loved one. The Dale Association is a unique non profit organization which has been responding to needs of adults in our Niagara community for 67 years. It has been said many times that our services help make lives better and we are proud to be able to do this for people with so many different needs. The Dale Association’s mission is to provide comprehensive services and coordinate connections for adults in Niagara and neighboring counties which enhance their health and wellness and empower them to build bridges into their communities. This important mission is the focal point of each program – including our Senior Services, Mental Health Services, Enrichment Activities, and Caregiver Support Services. Our Senior Services offer activities that enhance health, encourages community involvement, utilizes years of experience and allows for the development of friendships, as well as a sole local resource for the visually and hearing impaired. Memory Minders a social program for individuals with mild memory loss is also among The Dale Association’s community support services helping to improve the quality of life for adults. Our Mental Health Services have the clearly stated goal of assisting people to remain emotionally stable and living independently in the community. The Enrichment Activities are geared to developing and enhancing skills with the objective of adding to the quality of life. The goal of Caregiver Support Services is to help informal caregivers’ ability to manage and coordinate care. For more information about The Dale Association or its programs, please visit or our blog at http://www.ExceptionalYouAtTheDale.blogspot.

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